ST. GEORGE — A local man faces multiple felony charges for allegedly downloading a number of videos depicting children being sexually abused and sodomized that were sent to the Center of Missing and Exploited Children by a popular messaging application and then forwarded to the St. George Police Department for follow up.
On Monday, the Washington County Attorney’s Office filed multiple charges against 49-year-old Bryan Kyle Huber, of St. George, including five second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor as well as misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges. St. George Police detectives arrested Huber at his home on Friday afternoon.
The arrest stems from an investigation that was set in motion in June 2020 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a report from KiK Messenger, a social media messaging application, advising that an unknown user was uploading multiple videos of apparent child pornography, according to charging documents filed with the court.
KiK also provided the user name and email account associated with the files; and once the exploited children’s center obtained an estimated IP address belonging to the computer or device allegedly used to upload the files, a global check revealed it was located somewhere in St. George.
At that point the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force office in Utah was contacted and they forwarded the case to the St. George Police Department’s Investigations Division for further investigation.
Detectives reviewed the file that contained multiple videos of “apparent child pornography,” the officer noted in the report, videos that involved prepubescent children being sexually abused by adult men as well as women, and also involved other forms of sexual abuse towards children.
Through the course of the investigation, detectives ran a check on the IP address that came back showing TDS as the internet provider. A subpoena for records was signed by G. Michael Westfall on Sept. 4, 2020 and then served upon the company. Seven days later TDS responded and provided account information to police that revealed that the IP address belonged to Huber and also provided the subscribers home address on East Riverside Drive in St. George.
The records also revealed that Huber’s internet was active when the child pornography files were downloaded from KiK, the report states.
In October, officers searched Huber’s residence and recovered several electronic devices, including two cell phones belonging to the suspect. During the search, Huber denied downloading any child pornography and told officers he had no association with any KiK account, according to the report.
The report also states that Huber’s comments were not supported by what officers found during a forensic examination of the devices recovered from the residence.
The analysis revealed a connection between Huber and the suspected KiK account, including a screenshot of the suspect on his alleged profile page, as well as the same user name provided by the Center of Missing and Exploited Children that was later included in the information provided to detectives in St. George.
After a five-month investigation, the suspect was arrested Friday afternoon. Before being transported to Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility, officers found a small container of what appeared to be methamphetamine and a small scale in another pocket that was recovered by police.
During a follow up interview, the suspect “informed detectives that he had no comment on the subject,” the officer wrote, and Huber was booked into jail. Charges were filed Monday by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
Following Friday’s arrest, Huber is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court before District Judge Jeffery Wilcox Monday and remains in custody at the writing of this report.
Cheryl McCollum, assistant manager of communications with TDS told St. George News the company does not monitor, track or retain any information regarding the internet traffic of any of its customers, but added the company does cooperate with law enforcement and that any requests or orders are quickly processed.
Child pornography – one of the fastest growing industries worldwide
Child pornography is a $100 billion dollar industry that is one of the fast growing across the globe. In fact, there has been a 2500% increase in arrests over the last 10 years, according to research by The Demand Project.
Similarly, there has also been a spike in the number of images and videos involving suspected child pornography that are reviewed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2011 the agency reviewed 17.3 million pornographic images and videos involving children – a jump of more than 400% since 2007.
The data shows that, at any given time, approximately 50,000 child predators are online searching for children. The research also revealed that 40% of those arrested for processing child pornography had also been involved in the rape of children.
Internet Crimes Against Children
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces comprised of more 4,500 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in both proactive and reactive investigations and prosecutions of those involved in child abuse and exploitation involving the internet. In Utah, the task force is part of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
During 2020, online child sex crimes in Utah have jumped 50% over a three month period, from March through June, the task force received nearly 750 cyber tips, up from the 490 tips received in 2019.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is working hard to combat these crimes.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. The public and electronic service providers can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, extra-familial child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names and misleading words or digital images on the internet.
To report any known or suspected incident of child sexual exploitation call the local police department or to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Utah, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline at 800-843-5678.
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