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Utah County seeking tips on 'ritualistic' child sex abuse across three counties

For months, FOX 13 Investigates has been researching high-profile Utahns' connection to the case
Posted at 2:02 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 23:31:43-04

The Utah County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday asked for tips — and for victims to come forward — amid allegations of "ritualistic child sexual abuse" and child sex trafficking that occurred over a two-decade period.

The department said it opened the investigation in April 2021 after discovering other victims had previously reported similar incidents that took place in Utah County, Juab County, and Sanpete County from 1990 to 2010.

In a sheriff's office release, the agency said portions of those allegations were confirmed and are now being investigated in cooperation with other local and federal agencies.

"Criminal charges, we believe it will get to that point, but we just haven't gotten there yet," said UCSO Sgt. Spencer Cannon. "The sooner the better. We don't want to let anything sit longer than is necessary."

UCSO declined to release any further information.

However, multiple confidential sources have confirmed the case relates to a story that the FOX 13 Investigates team has been researching for several months.

The I-Team has learned some of the subjects of the investigation are high-profile Utahns.

UCSO would not confirm or deny.

"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."

Victims and law enforcement sources say one of the targets of the investigation was a therapist who was previously charged with a series of sex crimes against young female family members. The Utah County Attorney's Office dropped charges without prejudice, and the man was not convicted.

Records obtained by FOX 13 News indicate the man previously confessed to sexually assaulting at least one of the girls on an undercover phone recording.

Brett Bluth, another victim, said he met the therapist through a referral from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Hypnosis was a big part of (my treatment). He told me from the very beginning, that that was his main technique," Bluth said. "(He) would say, 'Do you want to be healed of your homosexuality, or not?' and the answer was yes."

Bluth said, based on his interviews with law enforcement, he's cautiously optimistic that charges will be filed and prosecuted.

He hopes sharing his story will empower more victims to come forward.

"I do think it will be different, I think in part because I have some information that can connect some dots," Bluth said.

Officials are asking victims of abuse, or anyone with information on the crimes, to please contact the Utah County Sheriff's Office Special Victim's Unit at 801-851-4010.

"We understand that there are individuals who have concerns for their safety and/or well-being, who have been silenced," the sheriff's office wrote. "We need your help."