Trial set for Southern Utah man accused of possessing ‘thousands’ of child porn images

Stock image | Photo by Pierre Desrosiers/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A trial has been scheduled for 64-year-old John Robert Krampf, who was indicted in federal court last week on one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.

Krampf pleaded not guilty to the charges as filed in the indictment during a hearing held via video feed on Monday. Also appearing was defense attorney Chris Salcido, a lawyer out of Sanday, who Krampf hired to represent him in the case.

The charges stem from a three-day sting operation conducted two weeks ago that was set in motion when authorities were alerted to an ad on Craigslist in which an individual posted a message implying that time could be spent with a child and asking those interested to respond via email.

The sheer volume of responses to the ad prompted authorities to expand the operation. It was then that authorities received information that led them to Krampf’s Kane County residence, where they recovered more than 20 hard drives, including a 4-terabyte hard drive that contained thousands of inappropriate images and videos of children.

The defendant was indicted on the two charges in federal court Sept. 17 and then transported to Washington County where he is being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

Prior to Monday’s hearing, federal prosecutors also requested that Krampf remain in custody pending trial, according to a preliminary position regarding detention document filed in federal court Sept. 17.

The intent to seek detention was based upon several factors, the filing states, including the length of the potential sentence, should the defendant be found guilty of the charges, for which “10 years or more is prescribed.”

John Robert Krampf, 64, of Kane County, boking photo taken in Washington County, County Sept. 17, 2020 | File photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The risk that Krampf will fail to appear in court for the proceedings was also a factor in the case, in addition to the public safety aspect. According to prosecutors, the defendant poses a risk to the community based on the fact that the crimes he is accused of involve children.

The weight of the evidence against the defendant was also a factor, as prosecutors noted that Krampf had “acknowledged repeated viewing and obtaining of images depicting the sexual abuse of children over many years.”

Moreover, the nature of and circumstances surrounding the charges were also a factor, in that the defendant “used a sophisticated software program to locate sexually explicit images of children as young as 4 years old,” the record states. A search of the residence uncovered hundreds of images of children, a large number of which were of children under the age of 12.

The defendant also appeared suicidal at the time of his arrest and expressed he felt “uncomfortable being alone with children.” As such, there were concerns for his and for others’ safety.

During the hearing, Magistrate Judge Paul Kohler ordered the defendant to be held in federal custody until the matter is resolved. A four-day jury trial was also scheduled in the case and will begin Dec. 4 in U.S. District Court in St. George.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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