was an LDS church member in Wyoming; accused of sexual abuse

Case Summary

Sources
  1. Elk Mountain man arrested - Arrest follows investigation of alleged inappropriate texts
    view source details | 26 May 2021 | Saratoga Sun
Sources excerpts
  • Elk Mountain man arrested - Arrest follows investigation of alleged inappropriate texts
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Saratoga Sun
    Date published/accessed: 26 May 2021
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A 55-year-old Elk Mountain man was arrested on May 17 by the Hanna Marshal’s Office following an investigation that began in late February.

    Charges filed against Lyle Gordon Richardson allege he committed the crimes of sexual exploitation of children and endangering children. If convicted, Richardson could face up to 13 years in prison, a fine of $11,000 or both. He is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

    To protect both the victim and their family, their names will not be used in this article.

    According to the affidavit filed in the Circuit Court of Carbon County, the investigation began on February 25, 2021 when the Hanna Marshal’s Office had received a radio call from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch stating the uncle of the victim had wanted to speak with a law enforcement officer. The uncle informed the marshal’s office his 15-year-old niece had allegedly received a text message from Richardson that appeared to request sexually explicit photos in exchange for payment.

    The following day, February 26, the Hanna Marshal’s Office spoke with the victim’s father. The father reported similar information, stating Richardson had previously sent text messages to the victim but he believed they had been sent by Richardson in error. That same day, the Hanna Marshal’s Office interviewed the victim, who confirmed she had received text messages from Richardson the day before.

    The text exchange with the victim, which was included in the affidavit, appeared to begin with discussion about work on Richardson’s ranch to pay rent for her horses.

    “Are you just behind $60? Because I want to get caught up,” wrote Richardson.

    “That’s from this month but I need some for next month also,” replied the victim.

    “Ok. We can work on it you just let me know,” Richardson responded.

    Richardson then told the victim he had a friend who would trade out “sexy pics” when she was in need of cash and made the same offer to the victim. That offer was quickly followed by a text message reading “Never mind I’m sorry I shouldn’t have even said that”.

    As the Hanna Marshal’s Office continued to interview the victim, she alleged Richardson had first called her cute in 2019. The affidavit also showed inappropriate text messages had been sent prior to the February 25 exchange. In one exchange, from November 6, 2020, Richardson informed the victim he had a friend in California who was “putting together a calendar of the worlds sexiest real working cowgirls”. After texting that he didn’t think she would be up for it, he added “you definitely have what it takes”.

    On March 18, Richardson voluntarily went to the officer of the Hanna Marshal and spoke with law enforcement. According to the affidavit, he stated that both the victim and her siblings had worked on his ranch for a few years. He added the victim was a “super good kid, super responsible and that’s where I probably got myself into trouble sending inappropriate text. Thinking and treating them like adults when they are not.”

    When asked about the friend whom he paid in exchange for pictures, Richardson stated she was a single mother in her 30s but he had known her since she was 19 years old. He added when she was in need of extra money, he would often send anywhere from $150 to $200 in exchange for pictures. Other times, he would purchase gifts for her children.

    Richardson was asked, had the victim sent him pictures, would he have paid her the same amount. He replied he would have and admitted he was taking advantage of the victim because of her financial situation. Richardson was asked by law enforcement if he was infatuated with the victim.

    “I would say a small element of infatuation,” said Richardson. “Infatuated makes me sound like a terrible person. Maybe I am.”

    Richardson will make his initial appearance in the Circuit Court of Carbon County at 3 p.m. on May 26.

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.