72-year-old St. George man suspected of sexually abusing more than 1 child turns self in to police

Composite image with background photo by Carlballou/iStock/Getty Images Plus, overlay stock photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man accused of rape and sodomy of a child turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday facing multiple first-degree felony charges in connection with the sexual abuse of a child in St. George.

File photo for illustrative purposes only of St. George Police officers responding to scene in St. George, Jan. 9, 2022 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

On Tuesday, 72-year-old Edward H. Jones was arrested after voluntarily showing up at the St. George Police Department shortly before midnight. He was transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on five first-degree felony charges that include three counts of rape of a child and one count each of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sodomy of a child. He also faces one second-degree felony count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child – charges that were filed by the state on Wednesday.

According to arrest documents, the charges stem from an investigation conducted by St. George detectives who received a report alleging that Jones had sexually abused a child who was under the age of 11 at the time – abuse that continued over the course of several years.

The report also states the defendant raped the child multiple times and also forced the youngster to perform various sexual acts upon the defendant.

The reporting party, who was an adult when the interview took place, said the abuse reportedly took place at multiple locations throughout St. George for over five years.

Detectives eventually identified a second underaged victim the authorities say was sexually molested by Jones in 2017. Officers also learned the defendant allegedly molested the child and then attempted to use force to keep the child on his lap – efforts that were unsuccessful when the girl broke free and got away from the suspect, police say.

Investigators then located the suspect’s social media account that contained messages that were purportedly sent to an underaged girl in November, wherein the suspect requested several nude photos from the youth in exchange for payment.

The information contained in the message thread also revealed that Jones instructed the minor on how to delete the online conversations to “stay out of trouble,” noted the detective, adding the online conversation ended before any exchanges were recorded.

While speaking to police, the suspect initially denied molesting the first youth, adding the child may have given him massages, but then he stated he could not remember due to suffering a mini-stroke, an event that occurred more than a decade before any of the purported abuse took place.

When asked again, the suspect responded by saying “If it happened, which I don’t believe it did, I cannot remember,” according to police.

Jones also denied that he molested the second adolescent, saying he may have talked about sex with the child – but he never touched her, he said.

When the suspect was shown screenshots of the message thread on Jones’ social media account requesting nude photos from the teen that were later recovered by police, the suspect said he may have communicated with a few teenagers on the site, adding he was “only playing” and there was no harm in that.

Following his arrest on Tuesday, formal charges were filed against the defendant and he remains in custody without bail.

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, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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