SLC School District board member facing 8 felony sexual exploitation of a minor charges

Joél-Léhi Organista. Photo: Salt Lake City School Board
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake City School District board member is facing eight felony sexual exploitation of a minor charges.

A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake City said the charges Joél-Léhi Organista, 29, is facing are second-degree felonies. He was arrested Wednesday night.

The statement says a CyberTipLine report was provided to police by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which contained images and videos from a Dropbox account, a police statement said. The Dropbox account was connected to a Google fiber account linked to Organista’s Salt Lake County address. The account allegedly contained at least five images and/or videos containing chid pornography. One of the images allegedly depicted a female child approximately 5 years old.

After being read his Miranda rights, Organista allegedly admitted to having downloaded, viewed and kept the images and videos containing child pornography in his Dropbox account.

During the service of a search warrant at Organista’s address, officers 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.

“In the Snapchat communications, Joel is clearly notified of the ages of the children and asks for naked photographs and directs the children to do sexual acts,” the statement said.

It added: “Joel Lehi Organista has access to young children in his current position of trust involving grades K-12. Joel has shown that, through electronic means, that he frequently meets children online, solicits nude photographs from them, and has private online video conversations with them. Joel was born in Mexico and it is believed that he currently has family living in Mexico that could encourage him to flee.”

Salt Lake City School District officials said they are declining to comment on the arrest at this time.


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