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 St. George man was arrested Wednesday after authorities discovered hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his hard drive, including a video of a 6-month to one-year-old child being brutally tortured, beaten and object raped.
While the Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was conducting an online child pornography investigation on the BitTorrent Network in December 2017, an agent located a child pornography file shared by a Southern Utah IP address, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in support of the arrest.
When it was confirmed the IP address was in the St. George area, the case was forwarded to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 10 for further investigation, the report states.
Detectives began working the case and were able to identify a St. George home where the internet transactions were taking place, Washington County Sheriff’s Office Lt. David Crouse said in a statement Thursday.
The primary suspect in the investigation was identified as 28-year-old James Robert Richey, who had recently moved to St. George from Las Vegas, officials said.
Detectives executed a search warrant at Richey’s home Wednesday as part of the ongoing child pornography investigation, Crouse said. During their search, detectives conducted a preliminary scan of computers and hard drives from the residence.
In Richey’s room, detectives located external hard drives containing hundreds of images and videos depicting child pornography, Crouse said, adding:
Detectives were able to confirm the hard drive contained at least one video described in the ICAC tip, which depicted an approximately 6-month to one-year old child being brutally tortured, beaten and object raped.
Authorities located numerous videos and picture files containing names associated with raping, beating and wanting to murder children specifically between the ages of 3 and 10 years old, charging documents state.
Detectives are continuing to process the evidence collected to determine if the videos are of previously identified victims or potentially unidentified victims, Crouse said.
During the execution of the search warrant, Richey was already incarcerated at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility after being arrested Monday on a class B misdemeanor criminal mischief charge in an unrelated case in which he allegedly caused at least $500 in damage to a cohabitant’s property.
When detectives questioned Richey about the child pornography files, Richey “became visibly upset and began shaking,” charging documents state. When asked about the videos, Richey “kept putting his head down, becoming more upset and changing the subject” before requesting an attorney.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court Thursday accusing Richey of 10 second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Officials said Thursday that additional charges may be forthcoming.
Richey is being held on $200,000 cash-only bail pending trial.
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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