LDS Church reacts after missionary from Utah arrested in Calif. child porn case

Hayden Hunter. Images: Mountain View (Calif.) Police Department; Google Maps

FREMONT, Calif., March 5, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A 19-year-old missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested early Wednesday in Fremont, Calif., after a months-long child pornography investigation.

Hayden Hunter, 19, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, was taken into custody at 8 a.m. His missionary assignment was in Mountain View, Calif.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins released the following statement to Gephardt Daily:

The allegations against this young man are very serious, and are completely against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There can be no tolerance for child pornography. It is among the most serious of sins, and something for which the Church requires formal restrictions on membership, including a likely loss of membership in the Church.
When Church leaders learned about these allegations, the young man was immediately relieved of his position as a missionary for the Church. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement, and are grateful for their efforts to pursue such serious matters.

The police statement

The exact charges against Hunter were not detailed by the California’s Mountain View Police Department, but are reported by local media to be related to child pornography distribution.

“In September of 2019, Mountain View Police cyber detectives received a tip that someone in a private Facebook Messenger group chat was connected to more than 20 cyber tips relating to suspected child pornography,” the statement says.

“This Facebook Messenger group also included members possibly as young as 13 years old. Over the course of the next few months, detectives had to cull through and ultimately identify numerous videos and images of what was determined to be child pornography.”

The investigation took time, “particularly due to the graphic nature of the imagery our teams are exposed to, along with the amount of requests that we send out to ensure we are getting as much information as possible,” the statement says.

“While we continue to investigate this case, detectives are concerned that there may be additional victims online who may have interacted with Hunter either online or in person.”

The statement asked anyone who had interacted with Hunter or the email [email protected] who could offer more information to contact the Mountain View Police Department.

“Our investigators did a phenomenal job working this case,” said Lt. Frank St. Clair. “Their diligence and tireless efforts to stop this predatory behavior are commendable.”

Hayden Hunter. Photo: Mountain View (Calif.) Police Department

1 COMMENT

  1. What do they get out of exploiding children. I don’t get what people enjoy or even think when they do this type of thing. This makes me sick to my stomach. The ones involved in this ring of evil should NEVER be allowed to work or be where children are. They are a hazard to life and the welfare of a child. Lock them up and throw away the key or put them in prison and let the inmates tear them to shreds.

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