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Feds say doctor’s indictment is a sign of a growing problem

SALT LAKE CITY – A Bountiful doctor facing multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child has been indicted by a federal grand jury.  However, federal prosecutors say this case is just the latest example of what they say is a growing problem.

Nathan Clark Ward was indicted on the 13th on charges of production, possession and distribution of child pornography.

Federal prosecutors say they try over 40 cases every year in this state, but, U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber says that’s a small amount compared to the number of state cases.  “The cases that we choose to prosecute in federal court are the worst of the worst offenders,” Huber says.

He adds that it’s getting harder to find people producing and sharing the images because they’re “going dark” on the deep web.  Suspects form online group justify and normalize their actions.  Huber says large collections are being swapped and some videos are actually streamed live.  Huber says, “They name them, these collections.  So, there are collections that live on in perpetuity and they’re [shared] like baseball trading cards.  It’s that ugly.”

Steve Cagen with Homeland Security says this is why parents need to tell kids to never send any sexual images online, ever.  He says a child’s life can be ruined after sending just one picture.  “Once they have one image, then it turns into extortion because then, they’re telling [their victims], ‘Send me more.’  When the child decides to not send any more, they tell them, ‘Then, I’m going to put it on Facebook.”

Sadly, he says the business of catching the perpetrators is growing.  In 2015 there were 24 hundred people arrested across the country.  “In 2016, that number rose to 2,600,” Cagen says.