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Sean D. Reyes
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ICAC Task Force Combats Proliferation of Child Sex Abuse Images

October 1, 2019

The proliferation of images and videos featuring the sexual abuse and torture of children, often referred to as child pornography, has increased exponentially over the years. Last year, tech companies reported an astounding 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused.

By Rich Harris | New York Times | Source: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Utah is not immune to the rapid expansion of this epidemic. The Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in inundated with combatting child sexual abuse in the State of Utah. Recently, the New York Times featured the ICAC Task Force in an article reporting on the increasing amount of reported child sexual abuse imagery in an increasingly virtual age.  

It was a sunny afternoon in July, and an unmarked police van in Salt Lake City was parked outside a pink stucco house. Garden gnomes and a heart-shaped “Welcome Friends” sign decorated the front yard.

At the back of the van, a man who lived in the house was seated in a cramped interrogation area, while officers cataloged hard drives and sifted through web histories from his computers.

The man had shared sexually explicit videos online, the police said, including one of a 10-year-old boy being “orally sodomized” by a man, and another of a man forcing two young boys to engage in anal intercourse.

“The sad thing is that’s pretty tame compared to what we’ve seen,” said Chief Jessica Farnsworth, an official with the Utah Attorney General’s Office who led a raid of the house. The victims have not been identified or rescued.

The year was barely half over, and Chief Farnsworth’s team had already conducted about 150 such raids across Utah. The specially trained group, one of 61 nationwide, coordinates state and regional responses to internet crimes against children.

The Utah group expects to arrest nearly twice as many people this year as last year for crimes related to child sexual abuse material, but federal funding has not kept pace with the surge. Funding for the 61 task forces from 2010 to 2018 remained relatively flat, federal data shows, while the number of leads referred to them increased by more than 400 percent.

Much of the federal money goes toward training new staff members because the cases take a heavy emotional and psychological toll on investigators, resulting in constant turnover.

The Internet is Overrun with Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?

By Michael H. Keller and Gabriel J.X. Dance

To read the rest of the article go here.  

Investigators in Salt Lake City searching a home for abuse content. Confiscated electronic material in a mobile forensics lab. Jessica Farnsworth, an official with the Utah attorney general’s office who oversaw the operation. | Kholood Eid for The New York Times

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children. The Utah Attorney General (UAG) ICAC Task Force was created in 2000 and is now one of 61 ICAC task forces in the country. They focus on crimes related to sexual exploitation of a minor – whether possessing, distributing, or manufacturing child pornography, enticing minors over the internet, or exchanging material deemed harmful to minors. The UAG ICAC Task Force has 32 local, state, and federal police agencies involved in the task force.

You can learn more about ICAC and how to keep your family safe, check out the ICAC Task Force here:

Hurricane Man Sentenced to Jail After Attempting to Meet with Minor for Sex

July 25, 2019

A man from Hurricane, Utah was sentenced to jail on one third-degree felony count of enticing a minor by internet or text after he arranged to meet with what he believed to be a 13-year-old boy for sex.

Ross Robert Woolsey, a 50-year-old man, was first arrested along with six other men during a four-day sting operation conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Washington County Attorney’s Office.

Woolsey will serve 180 days at the Purgatory Correction Facility. Additionally, he will pay a $1,500 fine and will be placed on 36 months of probation with Adult Probation and Parole where he will be subject to all class A sex-offender requirements and restrictions. Woolsey will participate in substance abuse evaluation and treatment, sex offender treatment, DNA testing, random searches of computers, phones, or other internet-able devices, and will be prohibited from visiting any areas that children congregate – such as schools, parks, and community pools. Additionally, he is prohibited from having contact with any children under the age of 18 without prior approval from Adult Probation and Parole.

News coverage of the 2018 November ICAC Operation:

St. George News: Police arrest 7 men accused of attempting to meet boys, girls for sex
The Spectrum: 7 men accused of trying to meet with minors for sex in Washington County
KUTV: 6 men arrested for attempting to meet minors for sex in Washington County
ABC4: 7 men arrested accused of trying to meet minors for sex

Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Traveling to Engage in Sexual Acts with a Minor

June 10, 2019

On Friday, James Allen Wynhoff was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison on one felony count of traveling to engage in sexual acts with a minor as well as felony and misdemeanor drug offenses. Wynhoff was arrested last November during an undercover operation by the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Wynhoff is originally from Las Vegas but was arrested in Washington County when he arrived at the location where he was allegedly going to meet with a minor. His arresting charges included possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, owning drug paraphernalia, and enticing a minor.

Initially, Wynhoff was charged in state court with a second-degree felony; however, those charges were dismissed when he pled guilty in federal court with one count of traveling to engage in sexual acts with a minor after he crossed state lines.

The court additionally ordered Wynhoff to undergo a sex offender treatment, and a “Residential Drug Abuse Program,” which is an intensive nine-month, 500-hour substance abuse rehabilitation program. He will be imprisoned in either Englewood, Colorado or Segoville, Texas in order to facilitate the required treatments. Wynhoff will be registered as a sex offender.

News coverage of the ICAC Operation:

St. George News: Police arrest 7 men accused of attempting to meet boys, girls for sex
The Spectrum: 7 men accused of trying to meet with minors for sex in Washington County
KUTV: 6 men arrested for attempting to meet minors for sex in Washington County
ABC4: 7 men arrested accused of trying to meet minors for sex

Utah AG Announces 13 Arrests of ICAC Operation

May 20, 2019

Over 45 Charges Issued to Offenders Arrested in Utah County

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced the arrest of thirteen individuals in Utah County following a recent operation targeting child sexual predators. Charges include Enticing a Minor, Attempted Rape of a Child, Attempted Sodomy of a Child, Attempted Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child, Attempted Forcible Sexual Abuse, Criminal Solicitation, and more, for a total of 48 charges.

“The bad news is the information we are sharing today is grim in nature and shows that there are adults in our communities who appear to be actively and aggressively trying to have sexual contact with Utah children,” said Attorney General Reyes. “My office works with children who are actual victims of sexual abuse and rape; we see these children and the trauma they suffer. That’s why we perform these operations, and why we’re so committed to preventing harm where we can and prosecuting every possible crime against children that we can. Our goal is to prevent this kind of trauma from happening to even one more child.”

The investigation, led by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, indicated the suspects primarily targeted boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 13 years old. These suspects, if convicted, would be considered among the most dangerous and aggressive child predators because their activity indicates a plan to engage in sexual contact with a minor.

Based on the number of cases law enforcement agencies have handled across the state, evidence shows that this problem has become more pervasive in the last year.

Attorney General Reyes addressed that troubling trend today during a press conference alongside ICAC officers from the Provo Police Department, Orem Police Department, Utah County Sheriff’s office, Uintah County Sheriff’s office, Dixie State University Police, Davis County Attorney’s office, and Adult Probation and Parole who all participated in the operation. 

Keeping Children Safe

The Utah Attorney General’s ICAC Education Specialist has the following tips:

As community members, our role is to help protect children. If you know of anyone who is contacting children, please call your local law enforcement or the ICAC Tip Line at 801-281-1211.

# # #


  1. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
  2. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children.
  3. You can find a list of the alleged offenders and charges here:
  4. You can find the booking photos here:

Fighting Child Pornography: Answering Your Questions

May 2, 2019

Child pornography is a serious and growing problem in our state, and the Utah Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is fighting it every day. ABC4 reporter Brittany Johnson got a first-hand look at this problem recently, by riding along with the ICAC Task Force. She went with our officers to the frontline of this battle to capture and share the tragic reality of child pornography – and how ICAC fights against it – on ABC4’s 10 PM newscasts, April 25 and 26, 2019.

Based on the considerable feedback, the Utah Attorney General’s office is posting answers to the most frequently asked questions about the child pornography problem in our state. These questions are pouring into both the AG’s office and to ABC4 via email, social media, and telephone this week. There are thousands of concerned parents and Utah citizens who are troubled by child pornography and who want to protect their children and help fight against the problem. ICAC Commander Jessica Farnsworth answers the questions below.

Are there warning signs?  How can we can recognize those who view and/or trade, sell and share child pornography?

What are the various behaviors that act as ‘gateways’, which could lead a person to child pornography?

Are there any signals or warning signs that indicate a child is being sexually abused?

What can we do to protect our kids?

What do parents need to know about posting photos of their children on social media?

What does the average citizen need to know about child pornography?

What is the best way to get involved in stopping child pornography?

How do we stop the demand for child pornography?

ICYMI: Combating Child Pornography in Utah

April 29, 2019

Last Thursday and Friday, April 25-26, ABC4‘s Brittany Johnson highlighted the reality of the growing child pornography problem in Utah in a two-part special segment. Thursday, ABC4 rode along with Utah Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) special agents to see the frontline action and experience the battle first hand. Friday, ABC4 spoke with Special Agent Sete Aulai and revealed who these perpetrators are and what you can do to help fight this epidemic.

TRIGGER WARNING: The following videos contain graphic and disturbing details regarding the sexual assault of children.

Utah’s Child Pornography Problem: Part 1 (Courtesy of ABC4 Utah)

Utah’s Child Pornography Problem: Part 2 (Courtesy of ABC4 Utah)

ABC4 Article: Utah’s Child Pornography Problem

Watch on ABC4: Utah’s Child Pornography Problem

April 25, 2019

Utah has one of the highest child pornography rates in the nation. Child pornography represents one of the cruelest and most horrific forms of sexual abuse against children. It preserves the very worst moments of a child’s life for the gratification of their abusers. The videos and images of child sexual abuse are traded, shared, and viewed as both currency and commodity. Some perpetrators use it as a tool to normalize their behavior and groom their victims. 

It is important to educate the public on what child pornography is, the way it is disseminated and traded, and how to protect your children from becoming victims of this kind of sexual exploitation.  

Taken from Child Pornography; The Harsh Reality & Legal Definition
presented & written by the ICAC Task Force earlier this year

Tune into ABC4 Thursday, April 25th and Friday, April 26th at 10 p.m. to learn more about this tragic epidemic and how you can protect your children.

Sen. Hatch’s child porn victim act signed into law

December 18, 2018

The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a bipartisan team of legislators, was signed into law by the President of the United States. A critical step on behalf of victims of child pornography, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes led a group of 54 attorneys general urging Congress to pass this Act earlier this year. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to support and work alongside leaders who work to provide assistance for victims in their recovery process. 

From the press release  . . . .

The legislation establishes more relevant standards for child pornography victims who seek restitution from defendants and gives victims the alternative of a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment. 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office actively combats the sexual abuse of children statewide through our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Children’s Justice Centers Program, investigations, prosecutions, and victim advocacy. Online child pornography and exploitation experienced an uptick in 2018 as demand continues to increase.

The fight to protect our children – our future – continues for all of us. This law is an important step in the right direction.  Good work, Senator Hatch. 



Photo by Jomar

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