The Utah County Sheriff’s Office has announced an investigation into what it termed “ritualistic child sexual abuse” and is asking for potential victims to come forward.
“Special Victims Unit Detectives and investigators from multiple county and federal agencies are investigating reports of ritualistic child sexual abuse from as far back as 1990,” according to a news release on the department’s website.
The department said that in April 2021, “an investigation began into ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking that occurred in Utah County.”
The investigation then learned that “other victims had previously reported similar forms of ritualistic sexual abuse and trafficking that occurred in Utah County, Juab County, and Sanpete County during the time between 1990 and 2010,” according to the release.
The sheriff’s office said some allegations were confirmed, but more facts are needed.
“We are pleading with the public and encourage victims, or individuals with knowledge of these crimes, to contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit, so that they can be offered all the assistance possible. We understand that there are individuals who have concerns for their safety and/or well-being, who have been silenced. We need your help,” the Sheriff’s office said.
BREAKING – Utah County Sheriff’s Office seeks information on “ritualistic child sexual abuse” and child sex trafficking.
I’ve been investigating the case for months. I can confirm some subjects of the investigation are high-profile individuals. pic.twitter.com/IMWm4H36Oz
— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) May 31, 2022
“Criminal charges, we believe it will get to that point, but we just haven’t gotten there yet,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Sheriff’s Office said, according to KSTU-TV. “The sooner the better. We don’t want to let anything sit longer than is necessary.”
Cannon would not discuss details.
“We’re just being as careful as we can before we toss names out,” Cannon said. “Any given individual… The chips fall where they are, and we follow them.”
“It’s hard to believe that somebody would do this to another human being,” he said.
Cannon said more than one person is involved.
“It’s typically by a group of people, you know, two or more people that are involved in it, and not just, you know, somebody’s uncle or brother, or sister or whatever, that’s involved in individual cases, or incidents of abuse, but more of an organized effort,” he said.
“We have gotten to the point where we believe we have been able to verify some of the information that we’ve been told, and has led us to believe that it’s likely that there are others out there who have been victimized and may have been intimidated or threatened into silence and we want to help them,” he said.
Cannon said that after the release asking for information was issued on Tuesday, two people came forward.
“Where those calls will lead. We don’t know yet. But we’ll follow the information that is given to us and take it where wherever it leads,” Cannon said.
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