One-time NSL Mayoral Candidate Arrested, Accused Of Human Trafficking, Rape

Apr 11, 2019, 10:58 PM | Updated: Apr 12, 2019, 9:34 am

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A man who once ran for mayor of North Salt Lake was arrested Thursday over accusations that he kidnapped and raped a teen runaway and pushed her toward prostitution.

47-year-old Ryan MacFarlane was booked into the Davis County Jail on suspicion of seven felony crimes, including aggravated human trafficking, human trafficking of a child, rape, object rape, forcible sodomy and kidnapping.

A jail probable cause statement alleged that MacFarlane picked up a 16-year-old girl in Salt Lake City in November 2017 and had her perform a sex act on him in the car before taking her to a storage unit.

“(The teen) stated they arrived at a storage unit owned by MacFarlane and that she remembered it had blue doors,” the document stated. “(The teen) stated that MacFarlane had a mattress inside the storage unit where they had sex multiple times.. (she) stated that she was scared of MacFarlane.”

Utah Attorney General’s Office Special Investigations and Public Corruption Unit section chief Brendan Call said MacFarlane then took the girl to his mother’s house in Sunset, where he hid her at times in a trailer.

“Sexual encounters happened in all three locations, we believe,” Call said.

According to the probable cause statement, the teen said she told MacFarlane she needed to get out of Utah because she was a runaway and someone would be looking for her.

MacFarlane, the document said, rented a car and drove her to Denver, Colo.

On the way, she said MacFarlane was pulled over and issued a warning in Wyoming for speeding, something corroborated by Wyoming Highway Patrol, according to the statement.

“(The teen) also stated that along the way, MacFarlane stopped at truck stops and told (her) that they needed to make money for food and places to stay,” the jail booking document stated. “MacFarlane instructed (the teen) to approach truck drivers at the truck stops and solicit them (for) oral or regular sex in exchange for money.”

According to the document, the girl stated she did not want to do that and instead asked truckers for a ride, but they declined.

In January, the teen reached out to investigators via a therapist.

She was able to supply detailed descriptions of the home in Sunset as well as specific items in the trailer.

“Only someone who had been inside the trailer would have known this information,” an investigator wrote.

As of Thursday night, MacFarlane was being held without bail, per a court order that states that he “would constitute a substantial danger to other persons or to the community or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court if released on bail.”

MacFarlane ran for mayor of North Salt Lake in 2013, but was defeated by incumbent Leonard K. Arave.

“We hear it all the time—they can’t believe it’s their family member that’s doing the crime,” Call said. “Anyone can be a perpetrator or a suspect.”

Investigators believe the teen may not be MacFarlane’s first alleged victim. Any others, or people with information helpful to the investigation, are asked to call the Utah Attorney General’s Office at 801-281-1200.

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One-time NSL Mayoral Candidate Arrested, Accused Of Human Trafficking, Rape