Former Salt Lake City School District board member sentenced to Federal prison for crimes against children

Joél-Léhi Organista. Photo: Salt Lake City School Board

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 15, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Former Salt Lake City School District board member Joel Lehi Organista has been sentenced to 180 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two felony charges related to the production and transportation of child pornography.

The court ordered the federal prison sentence for Organista, 29, to run concurrently with a sentence ordered by the State of Utah arising from the same investigation, says a statement from the Department of Justice, District of Utah.

Upon release, Organista must serve 15 years of supervised release, and must register as a sex offender.

“In the plea agreement, Organista admitted to owning a Dropbox account which was used for downloading between 10 and 150 child exploitation images depicting prepubescent minors,” the DOJ news release says.

“Organista admitted to using Snapchat to contact minor children and soliciting them to perform sexual acts for him via video chat, including an incident which occurred between Organista and a 13-year-old victim, where the victim performed sexual acts for Organista via video chat.”

The case originated in January of 2021, after law enforcement received multiple tips that devices and accounts attributed to Organista were receiving and downloading images containing child pornography. A search warrant was executed at Organista’s residence in June of 2021, and Organista has been in custody since that time, the statement says.

Organista was arrested on state charges on Jan. 2, 2021, and resigned his school board position the next day, the school board confirmed at the time.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah Attorney General’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation.


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