was a former Mormon missionary and BYU-Idaho student in Rexburg, Idaho; arrested and charged in 2024 with sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online

Case Summary

Ryan Pugh was a former Mormon missionary and BYU-Idaho student in Rexburg, Idaho.

Pugh went on a full-time mission for the LDS church in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 2019 to 201.

In 2024, Pugh was arrested and charged with sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.

Sources
  1. Former BYU-Idaho student allegedly traded child porn online
    view source details | 12 Mar 2024 | East Idaho News
Sources excerpts
  • Former BYU-Idaho student allegedly traded child porn online
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: East Idaho News
    Date published/accessed: 12 Mar 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    REXBURG – Court documents reveal new details about a 23-year-old former Brigham Young University-Idaho student who allegedly downloaded child pornography.

    Ryan Pugh was charged with three counts of willfully possessing child sexual exploitative material and three counts of felony distribution of child sexually exploitative material.

    On Jan. 23, a Madison County Sheriff’s deputy received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saying they discovered two files of apparent child pornography that originated in Rexburg on the website Discord, according to court documents.

    RELATED | Rexburg man arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography

    Discord is a messaging and social platform using voice calls, video calls, text messaging, and the sharing of media and files.

    Discord provided account information, leading the deputy to Pugh. According to police reports, the files were sent on Dec. 18.

    The two photos showed young girls, one between the ages of 4 and 6, and the other between the ages of 10 and 12, in sexual positions.

    According to court documents, Pugh was listed as a current BYU-Idaho student at the time of the arrest. University spokesman Brett Crandall tells EastIdahoNews.com Pugh is now a former student.

    The deputy searched Pugh’s email and allegedly found another image of child pornography from Dec. 7, originating from Snapchat. This photo showed an unclothed girl between the ages of 5 and 7.

    On Feb. 13, the deputy received more information after sending a warrant to Discord, showing conversations between Pugh and other users discussing trading images of child pornography.

    According to court documents, Pugh sent a sexual photo of a young girl between the ages of 15 and 17. Another user asks Pugh, “Do you have younger?” and Pugh replies, “Yes. You?” The two then ask to trade photos.

    Pugh then responds with a video of two young girls between the ages of 13 and 16 acting in a sexual manner.

    When asked what types of videos he has, Pugh reportedly replied “teens” between the ages of 15 and 17. He then says, “I have a whole mega folder.”

    Other conversations show Pugh sharing multiple photos of nude girls between the ages of 15 and 17.

    On March 7, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant at Pugh’s home and transported him to be interviewed.

    According to police reports, Pugh admitted he uses Discord, and the account reported was his. When asked if the account would contain child pornography, he reportedly replied, “Yeah, there will be some.”

    When asked about the ages of the children in the images and videos, he reportedly said they were between 14 and 18 years old. He also allegedly admitted to sending child porn to “unknown users.”

    He then told deputies that the youngest child he’d ever sent photos or videos of was “maybe 11 or 12.”

    Pugh was then booked into the Madison County Jail with a bond of $100,000. He is expected to appear for a preliminary hearing on March 20.

    If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

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