ST. GEORGE — The owner of Hurrikin Express, a shuttle service in Southern Utah, who was charged last month with unlawful sexual contact with a teen, is now facing 21 additional felony charges after police allegedly found more than 700 images of child pornography on his computer.
Sean Timothy O’Neill, 48, of Hurricane, was charged Friday in 5th District Court with 21 second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was charged last month with five third-degree felony offenses, including witness tampering, two counts of failing to register as a sex offender and two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a 17-year-old.
O’Neill, who has lived in Utah since November 2016 and owns and operates Hurrikin Express, began communicating through social media with a 17-year-old girl from Hildale, according to a recently unsealed search warrant affidavit.
At one point, O’Neill told the girl “he would move out to Utah and would prove himself to her and marry her,” the report states. In December 2017, O’Neill brought the girl to his Hurricane residence where the girl told police she did not want to have sex but felt she couldn’t tell O’Neill no.
“(She said) she felt like a rag doll,” the warrant filed in 5th District Court states. “He would want her to participate and when she wouldn’t he would get upset and throw her around.”
As the investigation into the incident with the girl unfolded, police learned O’Neill had asked his business partner to lie in court in another case involving a juvenile, the report states.
Following O’Neill’s arrest on Jan. 2, police executed a search warrant on his residence and seized several electronic devices.
On his laptop, investigators found more than 700 images of child pornography involving nude girls between the ages of 5 and 13 in explicit poses and acts, according to charging documents, leading to the 21 new felony charges.
O’Neill, who was released from custody Jan. 11 on $25,000 bail pending trial, was arrested on the new charges Thursday and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility where he is being held on $150,000 cash-only bail.
He is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeffrey Wilcox for a preliminary hearing in both cases March 5.
According to court documents, O’Neill is a registered sex offender out of Michigan for enticing a minor over the internet.
Prior to his 2018 arrests, O’Neill was charged in 5th District Court in May 2017 with failing to register as a sex offender and disorderly conduct.
In that case, a 14-year-old girl LaVerkin girl called police to report O’Neill had been following her while asking her what she was doing, according to court documents. A woman told police she had witnessed O’Neill yell at the girl and then pull into a parking lot as if he was waiting for her.
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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