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Youth worker charged with exploitation after allegedly downloading, posting child pornography on Twitter

By Graham Dudley, | Updated - Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:41 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 16, 2020 at 3:58 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man who worked as a program manager at a mental health center for juveniles has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a probable cause statement obtained by KSL.

Tyler Domgaard, 28, reportedly admitted to a special agent that he had downloaded and reposted child pornography on his Twitter account, which authorities were tipped off to by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

An account with the username Tyrel99176458 had uploaded five such pictures on Aug. 19, 2019, according to the statement. The photos allegedly contained depictions of nude boys, between approximately 11 and 13 years old, in sexual poses.

Officials obtained a search warrant for the Twitter account, which revealed two IP addresses that matched those of Domgaard's home residence.

Two special agents visited Domgaard's employer Encircle, a mental health center for juveniles, in May 2020. The agents didn't reach anyone there but left a card. One agent received a phone call from Domgaard as she drove back to the office.

The agent pulled over and began recording the call, the statement says. During the call, Domgaard admitted that he got the images from other Twitter accounts he checked, downloaded them, and reposted them to his own account. The account had been disabled by Twitter for illegal activity, which Domgaard said was "traumatic."

Domgaard told the agent he knew "he was involved in self-destructive behavior and was waiting for the 'other shoe to drop which it just did,'" the statement reads.

"Domgaard's behavior demonstrates he is a risk to the community and he should not have access to or contact with juveniles," the statement says. "Further, (Domgaard) is employed at a mental health therapy provider which treats juveniles."

The warrant was authorized on Aug. 24.

In a statement, Encircle said it was "surprised and deeply concerned to learn of the arrest of Tyler Domgaard."

"While we understand the alleged conduct never involved Encircle, our guests, or our properties, we will fully cooperate with law enforcement," it wrote. Agents said in the probable cause statement that some of the Twitter account's logins had occurred at his workplace.

"The alleged actions stand in stark contrast to Encircle’s mission, which is to bring families and communities together to help LGBTQ+ youth thrive," the statement goes on. "We have a zero-tolerance policy for improper conduct or crimes of any kind and immediately terminated Mr. Domgaard’s employment upon our learning of his arrest for the alleged conduct." Encircle said it terminated Domgaard on Aug. 24.

"We have comprehensive safety policies and procedures in place at our houses, and we perform background checks on all personnel (employees or volunteers) who interact with our guests. We are conducting a thorough review of these policies and procedures and are committed to making improvements where appropriate. The safety and well-being of our youth, their families, and guests remain at the forefront of our mission and we are firmly focused on providing places to allow youth to continue to safely benefit from Encircle programming.

"We appreciate the work that the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is doing to protect our youth."

Domgaard made an initial appearance in Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court on Aug. 31 and was released to pretrial services on the condition that he have no contact with minors, not travel out of state, and not use the internet.

Graham Dudley

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