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Charges: Man posed as both a boy and girl on Textnow app to ask boy for nude photo



WEST VALLEY CITY — A man is facing charges after police say he solicited a nude picture from a young boy by posing as both a boy and girl online.

Eric Taylor Pitts, 31, of West Valley City, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of enticing a minor, second-degree felonies; and two counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor, a third-degree felony.

According to charging documents, Pitts, while posing as a 14-year-old boy, started chatting with a boy in southern Utah using the Textnow app. Later, Pitts “introduced” the boy to his friend, “Ashley,” a 14-year-old girl.

Investigators say Pitts then used his “Ashley” persona to convince the boy to send an explicit photo of himself, according to the charges.

On Tuesday, members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant on Pitts’ West Valley home.

“Pitts admitted he had viewed child pornography for years and he believes he has a problem. Pitts admitted he used the Textnow app to contact (the boy)” and then used his teen boy persona “to introduce a fictitious 14-year-old female ‘Ashley,’” according to the charges.

Investigators searched Pitts’ cell phone and found “550 images depicting young children nude, in underwear, and in bathing suits. Among the images I located were at least 10 images depicting child pornography,” the charges state.

Pitts told police he obtained child pornography from a website based in Russia “where users can share child pornography. Pitts also admitted he used the Kik app to trade nude images of children with other Kik users,” according to the charges.

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