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SLC School Board Member Resigns Following Child Pornography, Rape Investigation

SALT LAKE CITY — A board member for the Salt Lake City School District has resigned following his arrest in a child pornography and rape investigation.

Joél-Léhi Organista, 29, submitted a letter of resignation to Board leadership just before 5:15 p.m. Friday, according to Yándary Chatwin, executive director of communications and community relations with the Salt Lake City School District.

Organista was charged Friday in 3rd District Court by the Utah Attorney General’s Office with one count of object rape of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, both first-degree felonies. He was also charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

According to Organista’s jail booking documents, the investigation started with a child pornography report to the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Investigators wrote that during a police interview “Organista admitted to having downloaded, viewed, and kept the images and videos containing child pornography in his Dropbox account.”

Using a search warrant, investigators then got access to Organista’s phone and other electronic devices and report finding a Snapchat account containing sexual conversations with minors.

“In the Snapchat communications, Joel is clearly notified of the ages of the children and asks for naked photographs and directs the children to do sexual acts,” police write in the affidavit of probable cause.

The affidavit went on to say that Organista has access to young children through his current position of trust with grades kindergarten through high school.

Organista was elected to Salt Lake City School District’s Board of Education last fall and started his term in January.

More information can be found at this link.


KSL TV’s Ladd Egan contributed to this report. 

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