UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 11, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Spanish Fork man who works with troubled youth was arrested Thursday and is facing 20 charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.
A probable cause statement from Utah County said Bendigo Joseph Lawrence, 32, is being held without bail at Utah County Jail.
Spanish Fork police received a tip Wednesday that Lawrence was allegedly in possession of child pornography and the material was being stored on a USB drive inside his residence. The information was reviewed by detectives and a search warrant was drafted and approved.
The warrant was served on Lawrence at his residence without incident, and he was detained and read his Miranda rights.
“During the course of the interview Bendigo admitted to having involvement with child pornography,” the statement said. “Bendigo confirmed the tip that was provided to police and informed us of a USB drive that he had stored in his bedroom. Bendigo admitted that the USB contained pornographic material involving children. Bendigo also informed us that he has utilized a computer located in his bedroom to assist with the downloading of this material.”
In accordance with the search warrant, the USB and other electronic equipment was seized from the residence. The evidence was turned to over the Utah County evidence personnel.
An initial scan of the USB drive allegedly revealed at least 60 images and videos of pubescent and pre-pubescent girls engaged in sexual acts. Some of the children in the videos appear to be as young as 4 to 6 years old, the statement said.
“During the course of his interview, Bendigo revealed that his current job involves working with underage, troubled youth,” the statement said.