Salt Lake County man arrested after allegedly paying $30K, asking 200 minors for nude photos

File photo: Pixabay/ Ashby C. Sorensen

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 14, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake County man is being held without bail after he allegedly asked some 200 minors for nude photos and paid them approximately $30,000 over a three-year period.

A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said Jesse Knight, 36, is facing charges of:

  • Nine counts of human trafficking of a child, a first-degree felony
  • 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony
  • Three counts of enticing a minor by internet or text, a second-degree felony
  • Dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony

In early September, a report was filed with the Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in which two teenage girls reported they were being paid for nude photos of themselves, the statement said.

Following interviews with the underage girls and their parents, suspect information was obtained along with social media accounts. It was learned that one of the teenage girls was allegedly paid more money for pictures of a toddler family member, the statement said.

The suspect was identified as Knight, and search warrants were drafted and granted for his social media accounts and payment companies.

“A review of the search warrant results showed that Knight offered to pay over 200 underage girls for nude photos,” the statement said. “Several underage girls throughout the state of Utah were positively identified as receiving money from Knight for nude photos.”

On Wednesday, the Utah ICAC Task Force executed a residential search warrant in Salt Lake County, where Knight lives. The suspect was contacted at a different location and brought back to his residence.

“Post Miranda Warning, Jesse Knight admitted to owning the social media and payment accounts where he contacted underage girls and paid them,” the statement said. “Knight admitted to paying underage girls approximately $30,000 over a span of approximately three years for nude pictures.”

A review of the transaction history for Knight’s account showed that in one instance, he allegedly payed $5,000 to an underage girl for her nude photos. He also allegedly admitted to obtaining nude photos of a 3-year-old girl. Those were still stored on his cell phone.

He also allegedly admitted that he asked the underage girls to perform sex acts and he sent them graphic photos of himself, saying he wanted to meet them in person. He never met any of the girls, the statement said.

Knight allegedly said he last talked to and paid an underage girl for nude photos on Wednesday, the day he was arrested.

The nine first degree felony counts which Knight is facing are based on Utah Criminal Code section 76-5-308.5 which defines human trafficking of a child as:

  • “Commercial sexual activity with a child” means any sexual act with a child, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
  • An actor commits human trafficking of a child if the actor recruits, harbors, transports, obtains, patronizes, or solicits a child for sexual exploitation or forced labor.
  • Human trafficking of a child for labor includes any labor obtained through force, fraud, and coercion
  • Human trafficking of a child for sexual exploitation includes all forms of commercial sexual activity with a child, including sexually explicit performance, prostitution, participation in the production of pornography, performance in a strip club, and exotic dancing or display.

After his arrest Klein was transported to the Salt Lake County Jail.


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