Utahn arrested for child sex crimes is a counselor, police administrator and retired officer

Mar 21, 2024, 4:39 PM | Updated: 10:23 pm

FARMINGTON — A 58-year-old Utah man who has been arrested on suspicion of sex crimes involving a minor is an administrator in a Utah sheriff’s office, is a current mental health counselor and is a retired law enforcement officer, court documents state.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Mitchell McKee was arrested Wednesday, suspected of human trafficking of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, enticing a minor, dealing in materials harmful to a minor and forcible sodomy.

McKee was immediately placed on leave from his role as the administrative director at the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office. He was working there at the time of his arrest, according to the office. He was booked into the Davis County Jail after an investigation involving a teen who told police he was abused by an adult man in exchange for vape pens.

The affidavit of probable cause states that McKee is also a mental health counselor at a practice in Provo.

“Agents also learned the suspect is in a special position of trust and employed as a mental health counselor,” the document states as factors calling for his continued detention. It also states that he is a retired law enforcement officer and knows where the juvenile victim lives.

The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office said he was working as the administrative service director, a civilian, non-certified position. The office was not aware of the allegations against McKee until the time of his arrest by investigators with the Utah Attorney General’s Office. McKee was suspended, pending the results of a formal administrative investigation.

The criminal investigation started in January during a traffic stop where Heber City police talked with a teen in the stopped vehicle. The adult in the car admitted to being with the teen “for the purpose of sex.”

The victim told police he was in contact with another man on a social media app “known for casual sexual hook-ups.” He specified connecting with a man he knew as “Doug” and had nude photos from the man. He told investigators Doug drove a newer black Jeep and specified places they had met.

Police searched the victim’s phone and found messages with Doug. Police obtained a search warrant for the app and identified an IP address that identified McKee at a home address in Heber. Investigators found McKee drove a 2020 black Jeep Wrangler, registered to him. He also fit the description provided by the victim, including eyeglasses, facial hair, physical marks and body type.

The teen also told investigators he knew the man traveled to Provo, described the area where he lived in Heber and that he worked near the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office. McKee matched all those descriptions with his home address and his counseling and law enforcement administration jobs.

“Our detective units worked really hard to locate someone who may have sexually exploited this young man,” said Parker Sever, police chief of the Heber City Police Department.

McKee’s responsibilities in the sheriff’s office were to oversee the work of three civilians where he set appointments, processed citizen requests and performed other office duties, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The severity and seriousness of the alleged offenses cannot be overstated. We understand the Attorney General’s investigation to be ongoing and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to fully cooperate,” the sheriff’s office said.

“All of these crimes are horrible, and it’s really important for parents to know what their kids are doing, know where they’re at and who they’re communicating with on all these different electronic platforms that they have to know, it’s very easy to manipulate these young kids,” Sever told KSL TV.

KSL TV was able to locate a counseling profile for a man fitting McKee’s description but has not yet confirmed his identity. MeKee declined to make a statement to police and remains in jail.

Contributing: Garna Mejia, KSL TV

Child abuse resources:

Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: The statewide child abuse and neglect hotline is 1-855-323-DCFS (3237).

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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Utahn arrested for child sex crimes is a counselor, police administrator and retired officer