CEDAR CITY – A 32-year-old man is in jail after a police investigation found video recordings on his cell phone of a 12-year-old girl showering.
Cedar City resident Patrick Ryan Ward is facing four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies.
The Iron County Attorney’s Office also filed an information in 5th District Court for two counts of child endangerment, third-degree felonies, and two class B misdemeanors for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Ward was arrested May 3 and is being held in the Iron County Jail on a $20,000 bail bond.
According to charging documents filed in court, the victim told authorities she had found a hidden cell phone videotaping her while she showered at Ward’s residence.
The victim initially discovered the phone while showering when she heard music that sounded like a ringtone or text. She began looking for the source of the sound and allegedly found the phone concealed in a plastic VCR children’s movie case with a small hole cut into it that lined up with the phone’s camera.
The victim said she recognized the phone belonging to Ward and was able to confirm it by unlocking the device with the security pattern she had previously entered when using the phone at other times.
Video footage allegedly recorded on the phone that day showed the victim undressing before she got in the shower. A second video, taped on a prior occasion when the victim visited the home exposed her in the nude.
Cedar City Police later located Ward’s phone after executing a search warrant for his home. The suspect allegedly gave authorities permission to search the phone where they found four additional videos corroborating the victim’s report.
“These videos show Patrick as he sets up the phone taking care to carefully conceal the phone from view,” Officer Matt Topham wrote in his report. “Then moments later the (victim) is seen entering the restroom and disrobing in order to get into the shower. The nude body of the 12-year-old female (victim) is clearly seen in the video footage.”
Additionally, authorities allegedly located a small amount of marijuana on a kitchen counter where Topham said two small children living in the home had “ready access” to it. Investigators also discovered several pieces of drug paraphernalia with what appeared to be marijuana residue.
Court documents state Ward admitted he had used the pipe to smoke marijuana “moments before officers arrived at his home.”
No court hearings have yet been scheduled on Ward’s behalf nor has an attorney been assigned to the case, according to court records.
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