ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) - A St. George man is behind bars, charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after detectives found external hard drives in his bedroom filled with child pornography.
It was a tip from the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that led to the charges.
Detectives were able to locate the St. George home where the internet transactions were taking place and after serving a search warrant they discovered hundreds of images and videos.
"The specific video that was initially reported to us depicted a 6-month to 1-year-old child that was beaten, tortured, and sexually assaulted," said Lt. David Crouse, with the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
James Richey, 28, was already in custody on an unrelated case when detectives made the heinous discovery Wednesday. Some of the videos are so disturbing the detectives welfare is a major concern.
"And that's one of the things I'm concerned about my investigators is we can't avoid it, ... you know, they're thrust into something and basically drug into the depths of hell to have to look at these images, and these videos to stoop to the levels of these perpetrators just to make sure we keep them off the street and keep our citizens safe," said Crouse.
Detectives are continuing to process the evidence to determine if the victims are previously identified, or if they are potentially unidentified victims.
"If they're new images that we cannot readily identify then we submit them to [the National Center for Endangered or Missing Children], to go ahead and associate them and locate the victims," said Crouse.
Richey is being held on a $200,000 cash only bail. Additional charges could be filed at a later date.
This arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into offenses related to child pornography.
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