Southern Utah man accused of possessing child pornography sentenced to federal prison

Composite image with background stock photo of 5th District Courtroom and overlay booking photo of Damon Roy Campbell, 50, of Washington City, booking photo taken in Washington County Utah on Oct. 24, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Washington City man arrested during an undercover sting operation was sentenced in federal court for possessing videos depicting the sexual abuse of children.

Damon Roy Campbell, 50, of Washington City, was arrested during an undercover sting operation, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 24, 2022 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Damon Roy Campbell, 50, appeared last week in U.S. District Court in St. George for sentencing on one felony count of possession of child pornography. During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby sentenced Campbell to serve 96 months in federal prison.

The judge granted credit for the more than 590 days he has already served. Upon his release from prison, Campbell will be placed on post-prison supervision for 15 years.

Campbell was indicted by a federal grand jury following his arrest during an undercover sting operation conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on Oct. 24, 2022. The sting was focused on those seeking to meet children using various internet and social media message sites in Washington County, which is how Campbell first caught the attention of the agents, according to charging documents filed at the time of the arrest.

During the operation, an agent posing as a parent of a young child came across a user who said in the message thread he had an attraction to children ages 3-8.

The suspect identified himself as “Damon” in the message thread and asked whether the undercover agent would “share his son” so he could perform sexual acts upon the child. Arrangements were made for Campbell to meet up with the purported parent and the youngster.

When Campbell arrived at the pre-arranged spot, he was met by agents and taken into custody by Washington City Police detectives who handled the investigation from there.

Campbell was originally charged in 5th District Court with five second-degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor for what was found on his cellphone, as well as one third-degree felony for enticing a minor by internet or text.

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) logo that is run out of the Utah Attorney General’s Office | Image courtesy of the Attorney General’s Office, St. George News

Once the federal grand jury returned with an indictment on March 15, 2023, the state case was dismissed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brady Wilson, the lead federal prosecutor in the case, noted that shortly after Campbell’s arrest, law enforcement officers located several videos that had been saved during the sting operation in October — videos that depicted “graphic sexual content between adults and infants, adults and toddlers, and adults and preteens.”

The case continued through the federal court system for the next 10 months as a number of motions, detention hearings and a jury trial were scheduled and then continued in the case. During a plea hearing held Jan. 8, the government dismissed the coercion charge, and Campbell entered a guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography.

Two months later, the defendant appeared for a sentencing hearing held May 14, during which the judge recommended that Campbell serve out his sentence at a federal prison in West Virginia to facilitate family visitation.

The judge recommended Campbell be placed in a facility with a “safe yard,” which is a recreational area for inmates in protective custody, as well as one that offered a residential drug abuse program.

Campbell will remain in federal custody in Washington County until a facility becomes available.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!