Former SLC School District Board member now facing federal child pornography charges

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

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 27, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Former Salt Lake City School District board member Joel Lehi Organista, who resigned his position this month after being charged with child exploitation crimes involving state child pornography statutes, is now facing federal charges.

Organista, 29, is charged in federal court with:

  • Production of child pornography
  • Receiving child pornography
  • Transportation of child pornography
  • Possession of child pornography

Organista also faces charges at the Utah state level of:

  • Object rape of a child, a first-degree felony
  • Sexual exploitation of a child, a first-degree felony
  • Nine counts of sexual exploitation of a child, a second-degree felony

The state charges were filed on June 2. Organista resigned on June 3, the district confirmed.

Organista is being held without bail.

“During a post Miranda interview, Jose Lehi Organista admitted to having downloaded, viewed, and kept the images and videos containing child pornography in his Dropbox account,” his probable cause statement says, adding that one video showed abuse of a girl of about age 5.

During the service of a search warrant at Organista’s address, officers say they located electronic devices including an iPhone, an iPad and an iMac Mini, and allegedly found a Snapchat account where Organista was communicating with children identifying themselves as between 12 and 17 years old.


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