ED. NOTE: This report includes details that may not be appropriate for all readers. Discretion is advised.
ST. GEORGE — Authorities have arrested a 24-year-old St. George Marine who was allegedly found in possession of hundreds of pornography files containing images and videos of children being raped.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, forwarded the case of sexual exploitation of a minor to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for investigation.
In April 2015, the Washington County Investigations Division served a search warrant for the residence and computers of Richard Anthony Vidal, located on the 1000 North block of 1600 West in St. George, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in support of the arrest.
Authorities located numerous electronic items in the home belonging to Vidal. Once the items were seized, a forensic search of Vidal’s Apple MacBook Pro laptop was conducted.
“This laptop contained hundreds of files, images, and some videos of prepubescent children being raped, sodomized, bound and gagged, raped by adult toys, and children having sex with other children,” according to the statement of probable cause.
Authorities also found evidence of Vidal trying to share child pornography, the statement said.
Once it was determined Vidal was, in fact, in possession of the pornographic material, investigators were unable to locate him due to Vidal being sent back to the Marine Corps and then going to Colombia to visit his father.
Vidal turned himself in to authorities on Monday. He invoked his right not to answer any questions without an attorney present.
Vidal was arrested, booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility, and charged with five second-degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor.
Vidal was released from custody Tuesday on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Aug. 3.
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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