RIVERTON, Utah — A Utah man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of drugging a teenage girl before raping her, and police say it may not be an isolated incident.
29-year-old Calan Nelson Clifford faces a total of 14 felony charges, including rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, enticing a minor by internet or text, and human trafficking of a child.
Last week, police were called to a local hospital where a 14-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother, reported that she was drugged and sexually assaulted.
The girl told police that Clifford had contacted her in late December or early January over Snapchat, seemingly at random. Clifford told her he was 20 years old, but he is actually 29. He then told her he wanted to engage in sexual activity with her. She told him she was only 14, but he continued to invite her to hang out with him.
About a month after their initial contact, Clifford picked the girl up from school and drove to a church parking lot. The victim said Clifford then pressured her into performing a sexual act, despite her saying she didn't want to.
The two met in person for the second time in mid-February. According to a police report, the teen was planning on walking to school one day when Clifford said he would pick her up. Instead of taking her to school, however, the girl said Clifford took her to his home. While there, the victim said Clifford said he wanted to have sex with her, to which she said no. Court documents state that she "thought it was weird and she was freaked out knowing she shouldn't be there." She said he then proceeded to have sex with her without consent.
On March 23, Clifford picked the girl up from school during her lunchtime, telling her that he'd buy her lunch if she came with him. Instead, he drove to a parking lot where he drugged her and raped her again, the girl told police.
The girl said Clifford gave her "GHB" — gamma hydroxybutyrate — and told her he wanted to have sex with her. She again told him no, but then began to pass out and wake up repeatedly. She said Clifford again had sex with her without her consent, and all the while she was fading in and out of consciousness.
Hours later, the girl's mother tracked her location with her cell phone and found the two in Clifford's pickup truck. She immediately took her daughter to the hospital.
In a probable cause affidavit filed by Riverton Police, the arresting officer wrote that Clifford "is also a suspect in a similar case in Riverton which involves a second minor female."
"Detectives found these two young girls to be ex-patients at a facility where Calan Clifford used to live," the court document read. "Further evidence of these types of crimes has been located and is being investigated at this time."
The affidavit also indicates that there was evidence of Clifford being involved in human trafficking, but details were not included.
"It has been found that not only is Calan buying and selling drugs to exchange for sexual acts of minors, evidence has been found which shows Calan could also be prostituting minor girls. This evidence is currently being ran forensically for further information," police wrote. "Evidence of sex trafficking, and other sexual acts with minors has been located and is currently being extracted forensically."
Police said they also located video surveillance footage that supports what the 14-year-old girl told them.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or the online chat hotline at rainn.org/resources. In an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.