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SLC employee arrested, accused of accessing police databases on undercover operations

Posted at 9:34 AM, Oct 21, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General's Office has arrested a Salt Lake City information technology worker, accused of illegally accessing city law enforcement databases to access information about undercover operations.

Patrick Kevin Driscoll, 50, was arrested on suspicion of computer crimes, obstruction of justice, aiding prostitution, exploiting prostitution, and theft. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail where he is held without bail.

According to a probable cause statement obtained by FOX 13, police were investigating Michael Ricks, 49, who is already facing criminal charges of human trafficking. Police interviewed two sex workers who indicated another man was providing Ricks with "law enforcement sensitive data that was not available to the public."

One of the victims, the attorney general's office said in the filing, said "she was specifically a victim of Driscoll and was fearful for her safety," and "she had come to know Driscoll while working in the commercial sex industry and that she had specifically traded sex for money or information from Driscoll."

She knew Driscoll by the moniker "The Guardian," the affidavit filed by law enforcement said. The sex worker told investigators with the Utah Attorney General's Office that during one encounter, Driscoll took her to the Salt Lake City Police Department and accessed an underground parking garage. She believed he was a police officer because he was able to access police headquarters.

Investigators with the attorney general's office later confirmed he was a Salt Lake City information technology employee with full access to city and law enforcement databases.

"[Victim] stated the information provided by Driscoll consisted of phone numbers and names of police officers working undercover, specifically those who investigate prostitution and human trafficking crimes," the affidavit said. "Driscoll would also provide information on police operations occurring in areas that Ricks operated apartments and hotels. [Victim] stated Dirscoll would send information directly to Ricks and Ricks was able to use that information to conceal his illegal activity from law enforcement. This was done in exchange for either sexual acts or money."

The woman said she was forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for the information. Another woman who provided information to the Utah Attorney General's Office told officers she was afraid for her safety and that if she said anything about "The Guardian" she would "end up in the desert."

Police served warrants and obtained data confirming the women's claims, the affidavit said. Under questioning, Driscoll "admitted that he had accessed Salt Lake City databases from his home residence, but claimed the information he provided to Ricks, [victims 2 and 3] was false and not legitimate."

"Upon executing the search warrant agents discovered electronic storage devices which contained confidential files, including sensitive law enforcement data, to include: the names of undercover officers, metro gang files, and other law enforcement restricted documents that could only be accessed through the use of multiple restricted databases or files," the affidavit said.

The Utah Attorney General's Office said formal charges were pending. The agency asked a judge to hold Driscoll in jail without bail.

In a statement to FOX 13, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the city was cooperating with law enforcement.

"While I cannot comment directly on this ongoing investigation, I will say I am deeply troubled by the circumstances and information surrounding the arrest of a Salt Lake City Corporation IMS employee," she said. "Salt Lake City Corporation is in full cooperation with the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the employee is on administrative leave pending potential disciplinary action. I’m urging the HR department to move through the disciplinary process quickly to ensure this is resolved as fast as possible."

Chief Mike Brown issued a statement indicating they had been working with the attorney general's office.

"The allegations, as described in court documents, are very concerning," he said. "Because this remains an active investigation, no further information can be released."