UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 20, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A former vice squad officer with St. George Police Department and leader of a local church congregation was arrested after a Utah County human trafficking sting on Valentine’s Day.
A news release from Utah County Sheriff’s Office said detectives with the UCSO, Special Victims Task Force, and detectives with Lehi Police Department conducted undercover operations aimed at targeting human trafficking on that date.
As part of this human trafficking investigation, two undercover detectives established social media contact with a man who used the name “Pilot.” Detectives were able to identify “Pilot” as David N. Moss, 51, of Lehi.
“During the conversations with the undercover detectives, who Moss believed to be prostitutes, he described that he could ‘manage’ them, not as a ‘pimp,’ but to help them avoid getting caught,” the news release said. “He described how he could protect them, help them avoid police, and that he would take care of booking and they would ‘entertain.'”
When they asked if he had previous experience managing girls, Moss told them he had “run” other girls. Detectives sent photos to Moss after which they discussed prices and arranged to meet at a location in Utah County.
“During this meeting Moss showed the undercover detectives money and said, ‘I am not opposed to paying,'” the news release said. “Moss also talked to them about avoiding police. During this part of the conversation Moss grabbed the hand of one of the detectives and forcibly put it on his genitals over his pants. He then unzipped his pants and exposed his genitals to the two detectives.”
Moss was released on that day and detectives followed up on evidence they had collected. Tuesday, detectives went to Moss’ home in Lehi and arrested him. During an interview, Moss admitted to most of the information he discussed with the undercover detectives, the news release said. He denied, however, ever having any involvement “managing” other girls.
Moss was booked into the Utah County Jail on charges of third-degree felony exploiting a prostitute, class A misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute, class A misdemeanor sexual battery and two counts of class B misdemeanor lewdness. Bail for Moss has been set at $10,260.
During this investigation detectives became concerned that Moss may have other victims they were not aware of.
“Moss resigned his employment as a lieutenant with St. George Police Department, where he supervised the Vice Squad and would have had contact with vulnerable individuals who could easily be exploited,” the news release said.
Additionally, Moss recently served as a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which also allowed him to have contact with vulnerable individuals who could be exploited. Because he told the undercover detectives he had “run” other girls, they’re asking that anyone who may have had involvement of this nature with Moss to contact investigators with the UCSO at 801-851-4010.
Church spokesman, Eric Hawkins, confirmed Moss had served as a bishop, but said he’d been removed from his post after being arrested. “The behavior alleged in this incident is completely unacceptable and unbecoming of any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and especially of someone serving in a position of local leadership,” Hawkins said. “Upon learning of this situation, local leaders took immediate steps to relieve him of his role and to identify his replacement,”
In a second case, detectives working undercover established social media contact with a suspect on May 9, 2016.
“In that contact the suspect, believing he was communicating with a 13-year-old girl, described wanting to engage in sexual intercourse and oral sex with that girl,” the news release said. “While the suspect was identified in that situation, detectives were unable to arrange a meeting.”
On Feb. 12 of this year, undercover detectives again established social media contact with that suspect, identified as Richard Michael Martin, 29, of Riverton. In this case, Martin believed he was talking to a woman who was the mother of 12- and 6-year-old girls. Martin described wanting to engage in sexual intercourse and oral sex with the 12-year-old and oral sex and digital penetration with the 6-year-old. Martin also said to the undercover detective he wanted the 12- and 6-year-old to perform oral sex on him.
On Feb. 14, Martin arranged to meet the undercover detective at a location in Utah County. During this contact, detectives interviewed Martin and he admitted the information he discussed in the two previous social media contacts regarding his desired actions with the 12- and 6-year-old girls.
“During their investigation detectives found that Martin was in possession of video recordings of extremely graphic child pornography involving very young children and infants,” the news release said. “Because of the quantity and nature of this material, detectives will refer portions of their investigation for possible federal charges.”
Martin was booked into the Utah County Jail on nine second-degree felony counts of enticing a minor by Internet or text, with his bail set at $30,000. Martin has a previous arrest for similar charges in Kentucky in 2009.