HEBER CITY, UTAH: A man is facing 26 charges after police said he sexually abused and raped a child repeatedly over a period of several years.
The Heber City Police Department (HCPD) was contacted by the Davis County Sheriff's Office regarding 39-year-old Jesse Paul Murff, a wanted person, after he was spotted in the Heber area, according to a press release.
The DCSO had been searching for Murff, who had a warrant out for his arrest for numerous child sex offenses and had reportedly been actively evading law enforcement. It was suspected that he was attempting to flee the state to escape capture.
HCPD officers located Murff's vehicle traveling through the city on Main Street, and with the help of Davis County undercover deputies and Utah Highway Patrol, conducted a "high risk" traffic stop to take him into custody.
According to court documents obtained by KUTV, Murff had raped and sexually assaulted the victim from the age of 10. He allegedly threatened the child and told her he would hurt her if she ever told anyone about the abuse.
He is said to have held a position of trust over the child, giving him easy access to her. While his relationship with her is still unclear, Utah's definition of a person with a position of trust, as per criminal code "76-5-404.1. Sexual abuse of a child — aggravated sexual abuse of a child, includes 23 definitions.
This would mean he could have been anyone from an adoptive parent, to a coach, to a doctor, to a religious leader, a teacher, or more.
Murff is facing four counts of object rape, all first-degree felonies; three counts of rape, all first-degree felonies; five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies; six counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; four counts of forcible sex abuse, all second degree-felonies; one count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony; two counts of lewdness involving a child, both class A misdemeanors; and one count of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor.
The HCPD also booked one firearm into evidence and seized his phone and laptop as evidence. Additional evidence was turned over to the Davis County Sheriff's Office.
He is currently being held at the Wasatch County Jail on a $500,000 bail.
Murff's arrest comes less than a week after a Utah CEO admitted to having more than 13,000 files of child pornography, including some that depicted rape and bestiality.
Douglas Eugene Saltsman, 40, was found to have devices that contained thousands of files of child pornography. One of the files consisted of a compilation video of prepubescent girls under the age of 8, some of them just toddlers, being raped. Other files obtained from a laptop, a black computer, an SSD storage device, and an SD card, contained child sex abuse imagery involving toddlers. They showed the children bound and raped.
He struck a plea deal with prosecutors that saw most of his 11 charges dropped in exchange for him pleading guilty to three second-degree felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. While he was facing 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, he was sentenced to just 210 days in prison and 48 months probation.