WEST JORDAN — Criminal charges were filed Monday against a man accused of offering juvenile girls $70,000 to have his baby.
Steven Eric Graham, 28, is charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; enticing a minor, a second-degree felony; and sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.
In September, Graham placed a note on a car parked in front of a Riverton residence that offered $70,000 to have his baby, according to charging documents. Four juvenile girls had just gotten out of the car. The note included Graham's phone number, police say.
One of the girl's parents posed as a 15-year-old and texted Graham. Graham talked about having sex with the girl, said he would take care of her if she got pregnant, and then made arrangements to meet her, according to the charges. Graham even sent a picture of himself to the parent, believing he was talking to the teen girl.
The parents arranged to have Graham meet them at McDonald's and then called police. At the time, police did not have enough probable cause to make an arrest. Unified police said that because citizens were trying to conduct their own investigation, they ran the risk of the case being hampered by entrapment and coercion problems.
The parents, not happy with the lack of an arrest, voiced their concerns on social media. That later prompted Graham to go to police claiming some of the things being said about him were not true, according to a search warrant. But during the course of the interview with police, Graham admitted to putting the note on the car, going to the McDonald's for the purpose of meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex, and that he had made out with a 16-year-old girl at his work, the charges state.
Police later located that girl at Home Depot in Riverton and she said she was "sexually assaulted" by Graham, according to the warrant. She also told detectives that she had seen some of the man's social media posts and that he "had been asking if anyone wanted to make $70,000 over SnapChat. The victim said she asked (him) about the $70,000 and (he) told her she would need to have sex with him and have his child."
"Graham also admitted exchanging photographs of a sexual nature over text messages with several 15-year-old girls," according to charging documents.
Graham told investigators he usually contacted underage girls through the apps Snapchat, KIK, Plenty of Fish and TEXTNOW. Detectives reviewing those accounts came across conversations he had with some of the mothers of those young girls, accusing him of sending "filth" to their daughters' phones. He allegedly responded "that it wasn't against the law."
Investigators discovered hundreds of images of pornography in a Dropbox on Graham's computer, some of which were of underage girls, the charges state.
A $250,000 warrant was issued Monday for Graham's arrest.