Ed. note: The content of this article pertains to violence involving children. Some may consider the details contained in this report to be graphic in nature. Reader discretion is advised.
ST. GEORGE — A Dixie State University student was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor after he allegedly uploaded child pornography to an online chat room.
A representative of ChatStep filed a CyberTipline report notifying authorities that a ChatStep user going by the screen name “LilBoyLover” had uploaded an image of child pornography to the platform on Sept. 2, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in support of the arrest.
On Sept. 4, it was reported that the ChatStep user – this time going by the username “DrunkAsF—“ – had uploaded another image of child pornography to the ChatStep account, the report stated.
Officials reviewed the first image and saw a nude 6- to 8-year-old girl lying on her back being raped by a man, the arresting deputy wrote in a sworn statement. The second image was of a 6- to 8-year-old girl lying on her side being raped by a man.
An analyst checked the American Registry of Internet Numbers which indicated Dixie State University was the Internet Service Provider associated with the two IP addresses, the deputy stated.
A Judicial Order was prepared requesting subscriber information from Dixie State University for the IP addresses reported by ChatStep.
Through the information provided by the University, the suspect was identified as 18-year-old Decius Christopher Tho Duran, who was attending the Fall 2016 semester and was living at the University-owned Abby Apartments, according to the statement.
On Wednesday, members of the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant on Duran’s residence.
“Decius (Duran) admitted to viewing and sharing child pornography using the ChatStep platform,” the deputy wrote in the statement. “Decius also admitted to using his phone to download child pornography.”
Duran also told authorities he is a registered sex offender stemming from sexually abusing and manufacturing child pornography of his younger female relatives in Alabama, the report stated.
According to the statement, a forensic preview was completed on Duran’s cellphone in which numerous pictures of child pornography were found – photos depicting sex acts too explicit to detail in this report.
Duran was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Duran of three second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Judge Eric Ludlow, of the 5th District Court, ordered a $100,000 cash-only bail for Duran’s release pending trial.
Wednesday’s arrest is the second arrest to occur in St. George this week as a result of a CyberTipline investigation.
A tip and IP address provided by Google led to the arrest of 40-year-old Nathan Michael Hill, of St. George, Tuesday. Hill was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after allegedly uploading photos depicting sex acts with a 1- to 2-year-old girl.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children launched the CyberTipline in March 1998 to further its mission of helping to prevent and diminish the sexual exploitation of children.
More than 12.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been made to the CyberTipline between 1998 and June 2016, according to the organization’s website.
The CyberTipline provides the public and electronic service providers with the ability to report instances of online enticement of children for sexual acts, extra-familial child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the Internet.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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