CEDAR CITY – A 45-year-old man is facing felony charges for sexual solicitation after allegedly meeting up with an underage male via a gay and bisexual mobile networking app.
Summit resident Shon Edwards was arrested Jan. 26. He is facing two counts of sexual solicitation, both third-degree felonies.
Edwards was booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility and has since been released on $5,000 bail.
According to the charging documents filed in 5th District Court Friday, a 17-year-old male told police he met up with Edwards using the Grinder app from his home in Cedar City.
The juvenile, who was interviewed by Cedar City police detectives at the Iron County Children’s Justice Center, said Edwards did not provide any personal information to the minor and only identified himself as Scott.
The two allegedly met at Iron County Springs Elementary and Southern Utah University in September and October. They would then drive up Highway 14 together where the minor boy would allegedly perform sexual acts on Edwards in trade for money. Two of the incidents took place in September and October.
Text messages allegedly found on the juvenile’s phone confirmed that the suspect paid him $40 for sexual acts. On at least one occasion, $100 was exchanged, Det. Dustin Orton wrote in his affidavit to the court.
Edwards allegedly admitted to police during his interview of having paid the minor for sex “multiple times.” He also admitted to using the app to meet up with other males for the same purpose, court documents state.
Edwards insisted that most of the men he was sexually involved with were “believed to be of college age,” and said he didn’t intentionally target children.
The suspect is scheduled for an initial appearance Feb. 14.
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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