Utah man arrested for rape of child after toddler diagnosed with STI

Feb 1, 2023, 7:44 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man has been arrested this week on suspicion of child rape after the victim was found to have a sexually transmitted infection as a 2-year-old in 2021.

Steven Johnson, 25, was booked into the Salt Lake County jail this week after he was arrested, suspected of two counts of rape of a child and one count of sodomy of a child, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Salt Lake County’s Third District Court.

The toddler was first taken to a hospital in February, 2021 after her mother noticed some physical irregularities. After an examination, a doctor at Primary Children’s Hospital said the little girl tested positive for gonorrhea. The physician advised police that the only way that was possible was from sexual contact and the disease was “sure evidence of sexual abuse.”

Prosecutors said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to move forward with prosecution of any individual at the time. On Jan. 17 this year, an officer with West Valley Police Department received a phone call from someone who said they had video of Johnson confessing to sexually abusing the child.

Investigators found Johnson was recorded on Dec. 29, 2021, explaining how he abused the child and explained he must have contracted gonorrhea from someone he was with at the time. The video, over 20 minutes long, has been uploaded and placed in evidence.

The person who recorded the video said they waited to report because, “they did not want to cause further trauma to the victim.”

Police arranged a recorded phone call with the child victim’s mother and Johnson where he admitted he sexually abused the girl and apologized. He also sent a text to the victim’s mother and stated, “I have sins to confess.”

Police detained and interviewed Johnson. Documents say that after he was informed of his Miranda rights, he admitted to abusing the child on two occasions. Police arrested him on Jan. 31 and in probable cause documents said he would be a potential flight risk and danger to the victim and the public if released.

If you believe a child or adult is in danger, including of sexual assault, call 9-1-1.

If you have experienced sexual violence, you can access help and resources by calling Utah’s 24-hour Sexual Violence Help Line at 1-801-736-4356 (English) or 1-801-924-0860 (Spanish). You can also call the Rape Recovery Center office line during office hours at 801-467-7282 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for free, confidential counseling.

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Utah man arrested for rape of child after toddler diagnosed with STI