CRIME

Utah man who works with global charity for children, investigated for involvement in ‘sex tourism’

May 5, 2023, 8:26 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2024, 2:01 pm

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FILE — Five juveniles wwere hospitalized following a crash early Sunday morning in South Jordan. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

NEPHI — A Utah man has been charged with multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor on suspicion of his involvement in sex tourism and distribution of child pornography.

The man, identified by court documents as Kenneth Richens, has been charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was not at home when a warrant was served but was found and arrested the following day.

According to court documents, on March 30, law enforcement had “reason to believe” that Richens was involved in sex tourism.

Sex tourism is criminal conduct when a person travels to another nation where children are commonly trafficked for sexual abuse with the purpose of sexually abusing children in those nations.

Richens arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington, returning from a trip to the Philippines and was searched at the border, at which time a phone was seized from him.

Law enforcement searched the device and discovered “child sex abuse material” according to court documents.

The metadata of the photo files shows that Richens possessed them in Nephi, Utah prior to travelling to the Philippines.

According to the indictment, Richens has “traveled to the Philippines 49 times since 2011. The Philippines is a nation where sex tourism is not uncommon.”

The indictment identified Richens as being an active participant in “an international charity organization that provides educational support for children in Cambodia and the Philippines.” His work within that charity would “bring him into contact with children particularly susceptible to sexual abuse.”

On May 4,  law enforcement served a warrant at Richens’ home but Richens was not there. It is believed he is still within Utah.

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Utah man who works with global charity for children, investigated for involvement in ‘sex tourism’