On March 8, law enforcement authorities from the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested an alleged youth porn user and a man who was reportedly seeking a date with a juvenile.
According to the state atttorney general's office, Henry Wayne Howk of Payson was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor for purportedly possessing child pornography.
The second suspect, Joseph Keane of Taylorsville, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for alleged enticement of a minor via the Internet.
"These arrests illustrate two ways suspects commonly victimize children - by consuming pornography and by using the Internet to arrange to meet a minor for sex - and the professional coordinated response of the ICAC team partners who investigate and arrest alleged criminals," indicated Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
"Investigation and arrest of suspects requires the expertise of many agencies. We are lucky in Utah - our ICAC team is deep in talent thanks to the contribution of investigators from many law enforce agencies," continued Shurtleff
Howk, 38, applied for a job as a law enforcement officer and then admitted to viewing child porn while being questioned during a routine employee selection process, sccording to the attorney general's office.
After apparently realizing the admission would trigger an investigation, the suspect reportedly destroyed the computer. ICAC investigators from the attorney general's office and the department of corrections later located the computer hard drive.
Investigators sent the hard drive to the regional computer forensics laboratory, where it was reconstructed and found to contain child pornography.
"This was a joint investigation occurring over a period of eight months. The ICAC team was assisted by the Utah Department of Corrections, adult probation and parole and the Utah Joint Criminal Apprehension Team to investigate and arrest suspect Howk," pointed out Capt. Chris Ahearn of the attorney general's office. "The regional computer forensics lab also did a superior job of resurrecting evidence on a hard drive that had been destroyed."
The regional computer forensics lab is a joint project supported by the attorney general's office, the Utah Department of Public Safety and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Suspect Keane, age 50, was arrested after a three-month investigation conducted by a department of public safety representative assigned to the attorney general's ICAC task force.
Accused offenders are presumed innocent until the defendant are found guilty or plead to charges while being processed through the criminal justice system, explained Shurtleff.
The Utah Attorney General's Office oversees the ICAC task force. The agency includes investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the department of public safety, the department of corrections along with several police departments and county law enforcement agencies in the state.
The Utah task force is also affiliated with the Ada County Sheriff's Office in Idaho and the Billings Police Department in Montana.