Suspect in jail after calling dispatch in Millard County to allegedly confess to enticing a minor

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ST. GEORGE — A Millard County man was arrested and charged with felony enticement of a minor after the suspect called emergency dispatch reporting the crime, and once he was identified as the spouse of a sheriff’s department employee – the investigation was turned over to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office.

File photo of Beaver County Correctional Facility, Sheriff’s Office, Beaver City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

The incident was initially reported in late October when investigators in Millard County received a report that a suspect, later identified as Abel Scott Christensen, was enticing a juvenile to send nude photos through a social media application. 

According to charging documents filed with the courts, on Oct. 23, the suspect reportedly called Millard County emergency dispatch shortly after 11 p.m. and asked if he should turn himself in, and according to investigators, he then went on to explain he had solicited, via social media, nude photographs from a teen.

The report also states that Christensen told emergency dispatch he had solicited a sexual video from the teen as well and said he was coming down from a dose of medication when he realized what he had done. It was shortly thereafter that he learned the teen had taken screenshots of the messages and then blocked him from the social media site. 

He also said he had attempted to apologize but said “he didn’t know if [the youth] was going to report him,” and it was shortly thereafter that he made the call to emergency dispatch. Deputies later found Christensen at his residence on North 300 West in Delta and he was transported to the Millard County Sheriff’s Department substation.

It was there that Christensen was advised the investigation would be turned over to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office, due to a conflict of interest that arose when it was determined that Christensen was married to a corrections officer with the Millard County Sheriff’s Office. 

St. George News reached out to Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel, who said it is not uncommon to request assistance from an outside agency anytime a case involves allegations or criminal charges filed against a city, county or a state employee, or in this case, he said, the spouse of a county employee.

The reason, he said, is to avoid any appearance of collusion or impropriety and to protect the integrity of an investigation. Asking an outside agency to investigate such a case is also to avoid any undue influence that can affect the outcome of an investigation, he added, and went on to say that everyone, including the suspect in this case deserves a fair trial.

On Oct. 23, while speaking to investigators, the suspect reportedly admitted to soliciting the photo from the youth. Christensen was advised the investigation would be turned over to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office.

Through the course of the investigation, the suspect turned over his cell phone and provided officers with the password for the phone. 

The report also states that two days later, officers met with the teen who said she had accepted a friend request from the suspect, and soon after, the report states, Christensen began asking the youth for nude photos – requests the youth said caused her great discomfort. The teen also took screenshots of the messages reportedly sent by the suspect, “so they would not be lost,” and then unfriended Christiansen so that he could not contact her again. The screenshots were also turned over to detectives. 

Unable to contact the teen on that particular social media site, police say that Christensen sent a message using another media platform apologizing for what he had done, a message thread that was saved and later turned over to police. 

The report also says officers recovered a number of messages that appeared to have been sent by the suspect, including one that read, “Please don’t tell anyone I asked you this,” the officer included in the report.The suspect also asked multiple times for the juvenile to not report him to authorities. 

Later that same evening, officers learned after responding to the suspect’s home in Delta that Christiansen was in a  hospital in northern Utah.Three days later the suspect met with detectives at the police station in Beaver, where he arrived and “willingly turned himself in,” the officer stated. 

During an interview with detectives Oct. 30, Christensen reportedly admitted to the allegations and said he “was on several psychotropic medications” and was not thinking right at the time. 

Throughout the interview, detectives noted, the suspect remained “consistent and truthful” and was later transported and booked into the Beaver County Jail facing one third-degree felony charge of enticing a minor by internet or text and bail was set at $5,000. 

On Friday,  the case was filed by the Millard County Attorney’s Office and Christensen is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 4th District Court in Fillmore on Wednesday.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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