Last Updated on July 3, 2022
An investigation into “ritualistic child sexual abuse” has continued to turn heads after 120 victims and those who know victims have come forward, a Utah sheriff reported. A local prosecutor was reportedly named in the probe during a May 31 press conference, though the sheriff’s office has not released names of potential victims or suspects.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Department has asked for assistance in the investigation from the FBI, which it has received. “It’s common practice for the FBI to offer assistance, when requested, to our law enforcement partners. We are assisting, and so I will defer to the lead agency, which is the Utah County Sheriff’s Office,” said FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker.
“I don’t know the exact number, but it is now over 120 people who have contacted us. [Of that number], I am sure. There are likely more than 120 at this point,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon told The Epoch Times.
The 120 figure is comprised of both victims and people who know victims, Cannon said.
According to the department, the alleged abuse took place between 1990 and 2010. The Utah County Sheriff’s office previously announced the investigation — which has been underway since April 2021 — in a May 31 press release.
The department detailed its investigation into “ritualistic sexual abuse and child sex trafficking” in Utah’s second largest county. In addition, law enforcement uncovered similar instances in neighboring Juab County and Sanpete County during the same period.
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt was reportedly among those named in the probe.
Leavitt has denied the allegations and described one of the alleged victims as “tragically mentally ill” after the May 31 press release. “I learned that my wife and I were part of those allegations, allegedly that we were guilty of cannibalizing young children, and murdering young children,” Leavitt said before denying the allegations.
The prosecutor has also criticized the handling of the investigation by Sheriff Mike Smith and has accused him of conducting a politically motivated “witch hunt” in an election year.
“Mr. Leavitt named himself,” Cannon, who did not confirm or deny any names, told The Epoch Times. “What I will say, however, is that the case Mr. Leavitt referred to is not the case we began investigating in April 2021. He implies otherwise, but he is wrong,” Cannon said.
Another suspect is a therapist previously charged with a series of sex crimes against young female family members, according to Adam Herbets of Fox 13. Police said they had a taped confession, but the Utah County Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges.
The investigation is currently ongoing.