LOCAL NEWS

Ex-SLC school board member pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Jan 18, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm
FILE: Joel Lehi Organista, 29. (Salt Lake City School District)...
FILE: Joel Lehi Organista, 29. (Salt Lake City School District)
(Salt Lake City School District)

SALT LAKE CITY — A former member of the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education has pleaded guilty to two felony counts related to the production and transportation of child pornography in federal court.

Authorities said 29-year-old Joel Lehi Organista, of Salt Lake City, entered the guilty plea agreement on Jan. 10.

Organista was previously charged in Utah’s Third District Court with nine second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of object rape of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, both first-degree felonies.

These state charges were dropped in November in exchange for his guilty pleas, and he was sentenced on Tuesday to a term of 15 years to life in prison for aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, a first-degree felony, and a term of one to 15 years for enticing a minor over internet or text, a second-degree felony.

In the federal plea agreement, “Organista admitted to owning a Dropbox account which was used for downloading between 10 and 150 images of prepubescent minors,” according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Organista also admitted to using Snapchat to contact minor children and soliciting them to perform sexual acts for him via video chat, including an incident where a 13-year-old victim performed sexual acts for Organista via video chat.

Police previously said Organista “(was) clearly notified of the ages of the children and (asked) for naked photographs and (directed) the children to do sexual acts.”

Organista resigned from the SLCSD board on June 4, one day after his arrest. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence of 15 years in federal prison at a hearing in May.

A Utah judge recommended penalties from state charges will run concurrently with any federal charges.

“Organista also faces a maximum possible sentence of a lifetime of supervised release after his term of incarceration is served and he will be required to register as a sex offender,” DOJ officials said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Want to rent out your home for the NBA All-Star weekend? Here’s what you need to know

No question local businesses and hotel operators are excited about all the money the NBA All-Star game will bring in. But as Matt Gephardt found, regular Joe's are also capitalizing — and maybe you can, too.
1 day ago
Chopper 5 flies over the site of a new golf course by Tiger Woods set to open near Heber and Park C...
Alex Cabrero

New golf course designed by Tiger Woods set to open in 2025 near Heber City, Park City

A new golf course set to come to the Park City area is being designed by Tiger Woods. While it may be exciting, it has a lot of people wondering about the water it will take to run it.
1 day ago
...
Shelby Lofton

Utah lawmakers discussing multiple domestic violence bills to protect victims

A domestic violence amendment bill — SB117 — has made it one step closer to reaching the governor's desk.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO...
Pat Reavy

Utah sex offender charged with kidnapping teen girl from Arizona he met on TikTok

A West Valley man previously convicted of sexually extorting a teen girl is now charged with driving to Arizona to take a different teen girl back to his home in Utah where he sexually assaulted her.
1 day ago
(North View Fire District)...
Madison Swenson

Cars crash into Utah building and residence in separate incidents

Two buildings in Pleasant View were damaged Tuesday after cars crashed into them.
1 day ago
...
Shara Park

Raise the Future chosen as Team Giannis’ beneficiary for NBA All-Star Game

As the NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City approaches, several local charities have been chosen as beneficiaries, including Raise the Future, KSL TV’s Wednesday's Child partner.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Ex-SLC school board member pleads guilty to child pornography charges