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KAYSVILLE — A registered sex offender from Kaysville is facing new charges after investigators say they discovered he was acting as an administrator for several online chat groups aimed at teenagers.
Benjamin Joseph Putnam, 29, was charged Tuesday in 2nd District Court with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; soliciting to commit sexual exploitation of a minor, a third-degree felony; dealing in harmful materials to a minor, a third-degree felony; and violation of the Utah sex and kidnap registry, a third-degree felony.
On May 9, Putnam engaged in a "highly sexual conversation" with an undercover police officer posing online as a 13-year-old girl on the app Kik, according to charging documents. Putnam "asked twice for naked photos of the officer," the charges state.
After he was arrested, investigators searched Putnam's phone and found nude photos of a 15-year-old girl he had been conversing with online, according to charging documents. Upon further investigation, they discovered that Putnam "was the administrator for several teenaged chat groups" with names such as "Tradenudes. 10-14," "15andpregnant" and "Cutetweens," the charges state.
In 2017, Putnam was convicted of similar behavior, pleading guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and unlawful sexual activity with a 16-year-old. He was sentenced to six months in jail and placed on 36 months probation, court records state.