Utah County, Utah: On May 31, 2022 the Utah County Sheriff's Office issued a press release concerning an investigation that had been active and ongoing since April of 2021 into claims of "ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking."
"The ensuing investigation discovered that other victims had previously reported similar forms of ritualistic sexual abase and trafficking" and that "portions of these allegations were confirmed."
According to the release the sheriff's department, which serves 600,000 citizens and covers over 2,000 square miles according to their Twitter, disclosed that the investigation is centering around allegations that took place between 1990 and 2010 in Utah, Juab and Sanpete counties.
"We are pleading with the public and encourage victims, or individuals with knowledge of these crimes to contact the Utah County Sheriff's Office Special Victim's Unit, so that they can be offered all the assistance possible. We understand that there are individuals who have concerns for their safety and/or well-bring, who have been silenced. We need your help."
The Sheriff's Office provided their main number (801) 851-4010 as well as the direct line for Sergeant Spencer Cannon, the Public Information Officer for questions. Sgt Cannon can be reached at (801) 404-1912 or on Twitter at @UCSO and @SGTCannonPIO.
At this time the sheriff's department has declined to name any individuals involved in the investigation, stating in a press briefing, "We believe there has been ritualistic child sexual abuse that has happened," and said "We're just being as careful as we can before we toss names out." They would not state whether they were looking into fewer or more than 10 individuals.
Adam Herbets, a reporter with Utah's Fox13, took to Twitter following the announcement saying, "I've been investigating the case for months. I can confirm some subjects of the investigation are high profile individuals."
BREAKING - Utah County Sheriff's Office seeks information on "ritualistic child sexual abuse" and child sex trafficking.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) May 31, 2022
I've been investigating the case for months. I can confirm some subjects of the investigation are high-profile individuals. pic.twitter.com/IMWm4H36Oz
Hebets also spoke with a survivor identified as Brett Bluth who told of his experience with a previously accused therapist.
"Hypnosis was a big part of it, he told me that from the very beginning," Bluth says in the clip posted to Twitter, "That was his main technique." He stated that he met the therapist through a referral from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for treatment of homosexuality.
That therapist was never convicted as the case against him was dismissed despite police reportedly having a taped confession of at least one sexual assault.
County attorney, David Leavitt, also spoke with Herbets announcing that he "has not engaged in ritualistic sexual abuse or cannibalism" despite not being named as a suspect in the investigation. Leavitt claimed that the investigation was a political stunt and called for Sheriff Mike Smith to resign.
Both Smith and Leavitt are up for re-election this year.
According to another report by Fox13, Leavitt and his wife had been accused by the same individual that initially accused the therapist of wrong doing. He described the woman as "tragically mentally ill" and said that the allegations were determined to not be credible.
Previously Russ Dizdar has spoken about concerns of ritualistic abuse centering around the Mormon church and even did a four part series in March of 2016. Additionally, he recommended a book by Jerald and Sandra Tanner titled Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mormonism which is available through the Utah Lighthouse Ministry website.
Pray for each of the members of the Utah County Sheriff's Department as well as the other members of law enforcement that are assisting with the investigation as well as for the victims. The truth needs to be exposed.