Davis County teams with state against child pornographers

Feb 5 2014 - 6:26am

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FARMINGTON --  Every day, every hour, every minute someone out there is either downloading, uploading or producing child pornography.

And it's not just happening in another country, state or county, but is happening in every county, including here, said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. 

Rawlings, who lives in Davis County, said, "Davis is one of the best places to live and to raise kids, but our children are being targeted as much as everywhere else."

So Rawlings and his staff approached the state Attorney General's Office with a proposal to help with investigating and prosecuting child pornography cases. By March 1, Rawlings hopes to have hired an investigator and a prosecutor. Part of their job duties will include investigating and prosecuting child pornography. 

Rawlings said his office handles close to 7,000 cases a year. Those cases include murder, robbery, burglary, drug cases, juvenile cases and sex offenses. Of those 7,000 only a fraction involve child pornography. He wants to increase that share.

The Attorney General's Office has done the majority of investigating and prosecuting child pornography cases for many years through its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"This won't interfere with ICAC, but it will supplement what they do," Rawlings said. "We really do appreciate the good work they do."

But the numbers of cases are increasing and the state's resources are limited when it comes to investigating and prosecuting every case, said Ken Wallentine, chief of law enforcement with the attorney general.

"We cannot cover the entire state on a consistent basis," Wallentine said.

Rawlings said his office will work with the AG's office on these cases. 

Wallentine said he has known Rawlings for years. 

"Troy is not looking for headlines," Wallentine said. "He's personally invested in the kids."

And protecting the children and prosecuting those who harm them is why the Davis County Commission gave the go-ahead for the new hires, said Commissioner Louenda Downs.

"If you can save one little soul, why not do it," Downs said. 

Downs knows the problem is not going to disappear.

"We're not putting our heads in the sand and saying it's not happening here," Downs said. 

Rawlings said even though his office and the AG's office will go after those who view or produce child pornography, "we still will not be able to touch all of the cases, because it is prolific and pervasive."

But it will be worth it to protect the children, he said.

Downs said the county attorney's office like other county departments have been able to save the county money by cutting back. It makes sense to use county resources to protect children.

Rawlings said his office has turned almost $750,000 back to the county in the past four years due to cutbacks it has made in its office.

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. 

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