Utah County man, who works with youth at church, arrested for child pornography

Apr 5, 2022, 11:42 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2022, 5:51 pm
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)
(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Police are asking for anyone who may have been victimized by a Utah County — man who works with children at church — to contact them after explicit child pornography was found on his phone.

UPDATE: Sykes was later arrested for sexual assault among other charges after multiple people reported abuse to police.

A detective, acting on a tip, twice interviewed Kevin G. Sykes, 54, and searched his phone, finding four sexually explicit photos involving minors. He was arrested on suspicion of four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree felonies. A judge set bail for Sykes at $5,000.

“Detectives want to encourage anyone who might have been victimized by Sykes to call them at 801.851.4010,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon said in a statement to the media. The release stated that the children in the images were approximately 8 to 14 years old.

“He (Sykes) has a position in his church where he works with young men and boys in the same age range as those depicted in the pictures found on his phone,” the release stated.

The investigation started on a tip from someone at his workplace who reported seeing explicit images involving children on his phone. Skyes, from Springville, was informed of his rights and agreed to speak with investigators.

First interview

Affidavit of probable cause documents state that Sykes told interviewers he has a church position where he associates with boys ages 11 to 14. It states he has been on camping trips with them and has weekly activities with them.

Sykes told investigators that he has never been alone with any of the boys and has never acted on any sexual attraction to them and has never had inappropriate contact with any of them.

In the first interview, Sykes said the images on his phone were 3D art, not photographs of actual children. He told police he is not interested in real children and loses interest if he sees actual photographs because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone.

When informed in the first interview that police would seize his phone, Sykes signed a consent search form and provided the code for his phone.

On further investigation, police found search terms in Sykes’ phone that included boys involved with human trafficking and prostitution. Police stated they also found computer animated images of boys, ages from infant to teen, being sexually assaulted.

The court document describes four photographic images, also found on the phone, in graphic detail, along with the image’s file names. Two of the images also featured under age girls.

Second interview and arrest

On Tuesday, investigators met Sykes for a second time, and explained his Miranda rights again before interviewing him again, where he was informed of the discovery of the photographic, pornographic images involving real victims.

“Kevin said he did not know how those images got on his phone,” documents state.

Documents state Sykes told interviewers again that he is “very strict about not being alone with any of the boys, but says he has never had any sexual contact with any of them.”

Sykes was arrested, taken to jail and booked on four counts of exploitation of a minor.

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Utah County man, who works with youth at church, arrested for child pornography