Former Utah child protection official arrested on child pornography charges

Posted at 11:18 AM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 12:49:13-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah — A man who worked in the Child Protection Division of the Utah Attorney General's Office has been arrested for the alleged possession of child pornography.

Gary Lee Bell, 66, was arrested Wednesday and faces six charges of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Bell's arrest stemmed from a tip that came in to the Utah County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 4 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

After obtaining a search warrant, police searched Bell's home on Spanish Fort on Wednesday and found multiple images of child pornography.

Bell's wife also told officers that her husband had attempted to secretly record her without permission while she was in the shower.

Bell is currently being held without bail as officials have determined him to be "a substantial danger" to the community.

"There was some concern because there are grandchildren who are cared for in the home there," said Utah County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Spencer Cannon.

"At least for now a judge has determined he is to be held without bail," he added. "That could change in the future, but for now he's being held without bail.

A spokesperson for the Utah Attorney General's Office issued this statement:

“Mr Bell deserves his day in court, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our office works diligently to fight the kinds of sexual exploitation Mr. Bell is accused of in the charging docket. We will continue to bring justice for every sexual exploitation case investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Bell’s prior connection to the Office will in no way prevent the course of justice to prevail.”

Bell resigned from the Attorney General's Office in 2020 after working there for 12 years.