was a Mormon missionary in California; arrested for distribution of child pornography while on his mission; found guilty

Case Summary

LDS missionary from Utah accused of distributing child porn in California

as of 2023, lives in Cedar Hills, Utah

from Gephardt Daily on 2020-03-05:

“FREMONT, Calif., March 5, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A 19-year-old missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested early Wednesday in Fremont, Calif., after a months-long child pornography investigation.

Hayden Hunter, 19, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, was taken into custody at 8 a.m. His missionary assignment was in Mountain View, Calif.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins released the following statement to Gephardt Daily:
The allegations against this young man are very serious, and are completely against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There can be no tolerance for child pornography. It is among the most serious of sins, and something for which the Church requires formal restrictions on membership, including a likely loss of membership in the Church.
When Church leaders learned about these allegations, the young man was immediately relieved of his position as a missionary for the Church. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement, and are grateful for their efforts to pursue such serious matters.
The police statement

The exact charges against Hunter were not detailed by the California’s Mountain View Police Department, but are reported by local media to be related to child pornography distribution.

“In September of 2019, Mountain View Police cyber detectives received a tip that someone in a private Facebook Messenger group chat was connected to more than 20 cyber tips relating to suspected child pornography,” the statement says.

“This Facebook Messenger group also included members possibly as young as 13 years old. Over the course of the next few months, detectives had to cull through and ultimately identify numerous videos and images of what was determined to be child pornography.”

The investigation took time, “particularly due to the graphic nature of the imagery our teams are exposed to, along with the amount of requests that we send out to ensure we are getting as much information as possible,” the statement says.

“While we continue to investigate this case, detectives are concerned that there may be additional victims online who may have interacted with Hunter either online or in person.”

The statement asked anyone who had interacted with Hunter or the email katieteal15@gmail.com who could offer more information to contact the Mountain View Police Department.

“Our investigators did a phenomenal job working this case,” said Lt. Frank St. Clair. “Their diligence and tireless efforts to stop this predatory behavior are commendable.””

from Mountain View Voice on 2020-03-05:

“Mountain View police arrest Mormon missionary on suspicion of distributing child porn

by Kevin Forestieri / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 12:07 pm

A Utah man serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested by Mountain View police on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography.
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A Utah man serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested by Mountain View police Wednesday on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography.

Though the investigation is still active, none of the victims identified as of Thursday are Mountain View residents, according to police spokeswoman Katie Nelson.

The man, identified as 19-year-old Hayden Hunter, was found and arrested in Fremont around 8 a.m. on March 4 after he was connected to private Facebook Messenger group suspected of being used for child pornography, according to a statement by the department Wednesday. Members of the group were possibly as young as 13 years old, police said.

Investigators with the department’s Cyber Crime Unit first received reports about the Facebook group in September last year, and spent months tracking down the suspect and identifying “numerous videos and images” later determined to be child pornography.

“These investigations take time, particularly due to the graphic nature of the imagery our teams are exposed to, along with the amount of requests that we send out to ensure we are getting as much information as possible,” according to the statement.

Hunter, a resident of Pleasant Grove, Utah, is a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was stationed in Fremont. Nelson said she did not have information on whether any Mormon church groups have been contacted by the police department.

Police detectives say there could be additional victims, and are asking anyone who may have interacted with Hunter or knows someone who interacted with him through his internet alias and email address — katieteal15@gmail.com — to contact Sgt. Tim Dahl at timothy.dahl@mountainview.gov.”

Sources
  1. LDS missionary from Utah arrested in California child pornography investigation - East Idaho News - 2020-03-05
    view source details | |
  2. Utah man arrested in connection with child pornography investigation - City of Mountain View - 2020-03-05
    view source details | |
  3. LDS Church reacts after missionary from Utah arrested in Calif. child porn case - Gephardt Daily - 2020-03-05
    view source details | |
  4. Mountain View police arrest Mormon missionary on suspicion of distributing child porn - Mountain View Voice - 2020-03-05
    view source details | |
  5. Utah sex offender registry - Hayden Hunter
    view source details | |
Sources excerpts

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.