Cedar City woman formally charged for sexual exploitation of a minor, pleads not guilty

Stock image, St. George News
Jessica Lynn Huntsman, of Cedar City, Utah, booking photo posted Sept. 28, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Jessica Lynn Huntsman, of Cedar City, Utah, booking photo posted Sept. 28, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – A 5th District Judge has officially charged a 27-year-old Cedar City woman for her role in allegedly downloading and viewing child pornography with her husband.

Jessica Lynn Huntsman pled not guilty Wednesday at her arraignment where Judge John Walton charged her with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all of them second-degree felonies.

According to charging documents, Jessica Huntsman allegedly confessed to police that she and her husband, Chad Ryan Huntsman, had sought out child pornography to use for “the purpose of sexual arousal.”

Chad Huntsman, 32, is facing 10 second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and two first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Cedar City Police arrested the couple within weeks of each other in September 2015.

Chad Ryan Huntsman, of Cedar City, Utah, booking photo posted Sept. 28, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Chad Ryan Huntsman, of Cedar City, Utah, booking photo posted Sept. 28, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Previous to the arrests, authorities brought Jessica Huntsman in to the Iron County Children’s Justice Center to explain how the interview process would go with her two young children. While going over procedures, however, she expressed concern to the detective about how the pornography found on her husband’s phone would be perceived, court documents state.

“I told her that we were experienced and could be trusted when evaluating the evidence against Chad,” Cedar City Police Detective Dustin Orton wrote in his statement to the court supporting Jessica Huntsman’s arrest.

“She then said that she and Chad had searched ‘under 18’ pornography together,” Orton continued.

Jessica Huntsman described for authorities times she and her husband would search “young girls” together — some of whom she believed to be as young as 10 years old, the statement said.

After the defendant’s phone was seized, authorities found three separate photographs of child pornography portraying four young children.

“Two are close up photographs that show the children’s genitalia, and the third shows posed children engaged in sexual activity with one another, meant to be titillating in nature,” Orton stated.

A doctor brought in to examine the evidence allegedly determined the photographs were of children under the age of 18.

The interview with police took place Sept. 3. However, Jessica Huntsman was not arrested until Sept. 30. Chad Huntsman was arrested Sept. 4.

At the time of their arrest, both of the Huntsmans were employed as science teachers at Diamond Ranch Academy, a Hurricane troubled youth facility.

Jessica Huntsman was released from custody Oct. 1 on a $10,000 bond. Chad Hunstman bailed out of custody on Sept. 4 — the same day as his arrest — on $100,000 bail.

Chad Huntsman is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 6.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • ladybugavenger May 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Disgusting. God help these children. Get the people that take these photographs.

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