LOGAN — A 34-year-old Logan man accused of downloading child pornography over the internet has accepted a plea deal. Brandon S. Torson accepted the agreement while still claiming that he was doing research and not specifically trying to access images of naked underage girls.
Torson participated in a preliminary hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday afternoon, appearing by web conference from jail. He waived his right to the hearing, where prosecutors would have presented their evidence in the case, and accepted the plea deal. He pleaded “no contest” to two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, amended to third-degree felonies. While he technically did not admit guilt, it is viewed just as a “guilty” plea in court.
In September 2018, an agent with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force detected a computer that was downloading child pornography through a peer-to-peer network. The computer was traced to a trailer at the Willow Creek Mobile Home Community.
Detectives served a search warrant to the residence. A laptop computer was seized from Torson’s bedroom. The computer was sent to a forensics lab in Salt Lake.
Due to a backlog, the computer was not returned to officers until earlier this year. The examination of the hard drive uncovered images of child pornography, several including girls between 6 and 10-years-old.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Torson claimed that he was doing research. He explained that that he had been trying to find a photo of an adult friend, but still acknowledged that prosecutors had sufficient evidence that would lead to his conviction.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop a remaining charge and allow Torson to be released from jail on presentence supervision.
Judge Jeremiah Humes, who was temporarily filling in while a new judge is approved, allowed Torson to be released, under the supervision of probation agents that will perform random drug tests. He also prohibited him from having any access to the internet or be allowed around children.
Torson has also been convicted of multiple drug crimes during the past 18-months. He could face up to five years in prison.