Kane County man, YouTube’s ‘Happy Scientist,’ booked on crimes against children after FBI sting

John Robert Krampf. Photo: Washington County

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Sept. 19, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Kane County man, known to YouTube followers as youth educator “The Happy Scientist,” has been booked into the Washington County jail after a three-day operation by the FBI.

In custody is John Robert Krampf, 64, who was booked into jail in Washington County. As The Happy Scientist, Krampf has nearly 90 youth-oriented science videos on his YouTube channel, more than 8,000 subscribers and an unknown number of visitors. He also has a web page.

Dixie State University Police Chief Blair Barfuss, who is also deputized to work with the FBI, said Krampf first came to the attention of federal authorities when he allegedly shared digital files — containing pornographic images prepubescent children — with an IP address that was part of an undercover FBI operation.

A warrant was served on Krampf’s residence and devices, and an overwhelming amount of evidence was found, Barfuss told Gephardt Daily.

“When we got the evidence back, we began examining files on the first external hard drive,” he said. “There were about four terabytes inside, and the visual observation was overwhelming.

“There were so many folders, so many items of evidence, it was hard to assess the quantity,” Barfuss said. “There were easily thousands of files just in that one hard external drive, and files of folders with an unknown number of images inside.”

Barfuss described the amount as “thousands upon thousands” of illegal images, all of young children, in the first of roughly two dozen hard drives that were seized.┬áDocuments filed in the federal court case estimate the children to be younger than 12.

“We opened two or three of the folders out of thousands, and were quickly overwhelmed, it was so egregious,” Barfuss said. “Immediately you know it needs to be analyzed at the FBI computer forensic lab, so we packaged all the evidence to send to Salt Lake City.”

Barfuss did note that a specific file shared with the FBI was one found to be stored on the first hard drive.

At Dixie State, Barfuss works with administrative Sgt. Ron Bridge, who is also deputized to work with the FBI. Together, they handle this kind of case for the FBI in the southern Utah region. Barfuss said he and Bridge recently have arrested people in a dozen cases, and are reviewing charges on a couple more.

The work would be impossible without the FBI and assistance from many local agencies, Barfuss said.

“Dixie State alone couldn’t handle a lot of these investigations without partnerships,” he said.

In the Krampf case, Barfuss said they will also be investigating whether the suspect had unlawful, in-person contact with any local children. Anyone with information on this case or other cases is asked to contact the FBI.

Krampf’s first court appearance is set for Monday. He faces initial charges of one count of receipt of child pornography and one of possession of child pornography.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this case as information becomes available.

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