Judge refuses bail for Hyrum man charged with downloading child porn and sexting teen girl

Booking photo for Zachary Taylor Oakden (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A 26-year-old Hyrum man’s request for bail has been denied after a judge called him a danger to the alleged victim and the public. Zachary T. Oakden is charged with possessing child pornography, and then sexting with a teenage girl when he was released from jail previously.

Oakden participated in a virtual detention hearing in 1st District Court Thursday afternoon, appearing by web conference from jail. He was previously charged with 7 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; and enticing a minor by internet or text, a third-degree felony.

In December, Cache County sheriff’s deputies claim they uncovered a video showing Oakden hiding a camera inside a bathroom. He allegedly filmed a 16-year-old girl disrobing and taking a shower.

In February, deputies were contacted again by the mother of the teenage girl. She claimed that Oakden, who had been released on bail, was texting her daughter. The messages were sexual in nature.

During Thursday’s hearing, public defender Ryan Holdaway asked the court to consider releasing Oakden from jail again while the two criminal cases continue through the court process. He said his client had not understood the severity of the charges previously but does now and would follow any pretrial orders.

Judge Brian Cannell said Oakden had breached the terms of his previous release. He expressed concern in how the defendant didn’t recognize the seriousness of the charges the first time he was arrested and placed in jail.

Judge Cannell said he had no other options to protect the public and alleged victim, except for keeping the defendant in jail. He ordered Oakden to appear again in court for a pretrial conference March 24.

In a prior hearing, Holdaway waived his client’s rights to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He explained they were working on a possible plea deal with prosecutors.

Oakden didn’t speak during Thursday’s court appearance. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.


will@cvradio.com

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