was an LDS church member, boy scout leader and Mesquite, Nevada police detective; was arrested in 2018, pleaded guilty to a charge of crossing state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct; convicted in Utah

Case Summary

Gary Erickson is a convicted sexual abuser who lives in West Jordan, Utah as of 2023. He was an LDS church member at the time of his crime.

Arrested 2018-09-12

from KUTV:

“MESQUITE, Nev. (AP) — A veteran Mesquite police detective has a been arrested on charges accusing him of sexually abusing a southern Utah teen he met on a social networking app geared toward gay and bisexual men.

Gary Erickson was arrested Sept. 12 in Las Vegas. He’s awaiting extradition to St. George, Utah on one count of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor and three counts of sexual exploitation.

Citing court records, The St. George Spectrum reports he arranged a sexual encounter with the 15-year-old boy in an aquatic center locker room in St. George in August.

The police department said in a statement Wednesday the 50-year-old Erickson has been placed on paid administrative leave. He has worked there since 1999.”

Sources
  1. Gary Erickson PC
    view source details | 19 Sep 2018 | Scribd
  2. Mesquite police detective charged in sex abuse of St. George teen
    view source details | 19 Sep 2018 | St. George Spectrum
  3. Former Mesquite detective pleads guilty to sexually exploiting St. George boy
    view source details | 10 Jun 2019 | St. George News
  4. Former Mesquite detective sentenced for sexually exploiting St. George teen
    view source details | 17 Jan 2020 | St. George News
Sources excerpts
  • Gary Erickson PC
    Source type: Police record
    Publisher: Scribd
    Date published/accessed: 19 Sep 2018
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    Mesquite police detective charged in sex abuse of St. George teen
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: St. George Spectrum
    Date published/accessed: 19 Sep 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A Mesquite police detective has been arrested and charged with sexual offenses involving a teenage boy in St. George.

    Gary Erickson, 50, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas on Sept. 12. He was charged with one count of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor and three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

    Erickson had worked for the Mesquite Police Department since 1999. The department announced Wednesday afternoon that he had been fired following an internal investigation.

    Fifth District Judge Eric Ludlow in St. George had ordered the arrest warrant, setting a $50,000 cash bail.

    Erickson, a resident of Bunkerville, Nevada, is accused of meeting a 15-year-old St. George boy on Grindr, a social networking app geared toward gay and bisexual men, and then arranging a sexual encounter in the locker room at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, according to court documents.

    In interviews with St. George police, the boy said he initially represented himself as being 18, the legal age of consent, in personal messages sent to Erickson, but then later told the detective that he was 15, according to an affidavit filed in 5th District Court.

    One exchange of messages indicated Erickson knew the boy was underage, according to the affidavit.

    Erickson was initially placed on administrative leave, with Mesquite police stating in a press release early Wednesday that they were investigating the issue internally.

    “Due to the pending investigations, representatives from the Mesquite Police Department are unable to comment further or provide any further information at this time,” according to the statement.

    A St. George police detective started investigating the allegations Aug. 20 after the boy’s parents contacted the department, according to the affidavit. They indicated he has been sending and receiving nude photographs from an unknown man.

    After meeting initially on Grindr, the two began to communicate via Snapchat, another messaging app, according to the affidavit. The parents said their son had arranged to meet with the man, named “Eric Smith” on his Snapchat account, at the aquatic center on Aug. 3.

    In the affidavit, police said the boy described a sexual encounter with the man in a locker room stall and in the shower.

    Police said they used the boy’s descriptions of the man and information provided by a scuba instructor to track down Erickson as a suspect.

    The boy later identified Erickson in a photo lineup, according to the affidavit.

    Homeland Security Investigations and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department worked cooperatively on the arrest, according to a press release from the St. George Police Department issued Wednesday afternoon.

    "This is an ongoing investigation and no further information will be released at this time," it said.

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    Former Mesquite detective pleads guilty to sexually exploiting St. George boy
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: St. George News
    Date published/accessed: 10 Jun 2019
    archive 1 | archive 2

    ST. GEORGE — A former detective with the Mesquite Police Department accused in federal court of sexually exploiting a St. George teen has changed his plea to guilty under a stipulated sentence at a hearing Monday afternoon.

    Gary Erickson, 50, of Bunkerville, Nevada, had been charged with one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment May 13.

    Under the stipulated agreement, Erickson pleaded guilty in order to secure a sentence of five years in prison.

    He entered the plea Monday afternoon at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Paul D. Kohler in St. George

    If the court decides on a harsher punishment, Erickson has the right to change his plea back to not guilty.
    Former Mesquite Police Det. Gary Erickson, Mesquite, Nevada, September 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Mesquite Police Department, St. George News

    A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 8 at the 5th District Courthouse. The judge ordered that Erickson undergo a psychosexual evaluation prior to the hearing.

    He was arrested in September 2018 after the parents of a 15-year-old boy in St. George contacted police saying their son had been involved in “sending and receiving nude photographs to (and) from an unknown adult male,” according to the affidavit filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

    In an interview at the Children’s Justice Center, the teen said that he met Erickson, whom he knew as “Eric Smith,” through Grindr, an LGBTQ dating social media app. He said that the two of them had eventually arranged to meet, at which time they allegedly engaged in sexual acts though Erickson reportedly knew that the boy was a minor.

    The teen gave police a description and Erickson became a suspect after he was positively identified in a photo lineup several days later. He was arrested on Sept. 12 and fired from his job at the Mesquite Police Department.

    Originally, he was charged by the Washington County Attorney’s Office with three second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, third-degree felony dealing in materials harmful to a minor and misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor. Those charges were dropped when the case was handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay T. Winward previously told St. George News that the federal indictment against Erickson was based on the fact that he traveled from Nevada to Utah to commit the alleged acts, which invokes federal jurisdiction because the acts involved interstate travel.

  • back to online sources list
    Former Mesquite detective sentenced for sexually exploiting St. George teen
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: St. George News
    Date published/accessed: 17 Jan 2020
    archive 1 | archive 2

    ST. GEORGE — A former detective with the Mesquite Police Department accused in federal court of sexually exploiting a St. George teen has been sentenced under a stipulated sentence at a hearing held earlier this week.
    Gary Erickson, 52, of Mesquite, Nev., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 27, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

    Gary Erickson, 51, of Bunkerville, Nevada, appeared in U.S. District Court in St. George on one count of intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Judge Paul D. Kohler sentenced the defendant to serve 60 months in federal prison. During a hearing held June 6, Erikson pleaded guilty to the charge under a stipulated plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.

    The defendant was charged on May 13, 2019, when U.S. Attorney Jay Winward filed a criminal information document after the defendant waived his right to the filing of a federal indictment, which would have required a grand jury proceeding. The following month during the plea hearing the judge ordered that Erickson undergo a psychosexual evaluation prior to sentencing.

    He was arrested in September 2018 after the parents of a 15-year-old boy in St. George contacted police saying their son had been involved in “sending and receiving nude photographs to (and) from an unknown adult male,” according to the affidavit filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

    In an interview at the Children’s Justice Center, the teen said he met Erickson, whom he knew as “Eric Smith,” through Grindr, an LGBTQ dating social media app. He said that the two of them had eventually arranged to meet, at which time they allegedly engaged in sexual acts even though Erickson reportedly knew the boy was a minor.

    The teen gave police a description, and Erickson became a suspect after he was positively identified in a photo lineup several days later. He was arrested on Sept. 12 and subsequently terminated from his job at the Mesquite Police Department.

    Originally, he was charged by the Washington County Attorney’s Office with three second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a third-degree felony for dealing in materials harmful to a minor and a misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse of a minor. Those charges were dropped when the case was handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    The court recommended that Erickson be housed in the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, a low-security facility in Alameda County just east of Oakland, California; however, that facility now holds female offenders only. The defendant will likely be housed in the court’s alternate facility, Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado, which is 10 miles southeast of Denver in Jefferson County.

    It is also the facility where Jared Fogle, former mascot for Subway sandwich restaurants, is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors and receiving child pornography in December 2015.

    Erickson will be back in federal court April 2 when the term of post-prison supervision and parole requirements will be addressed.

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.