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Heber City man could face additional sex abuse charges

The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office and ail in Heber City is pictured on Friday, March 12, 2021.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

HEBER CITY — A Heber City man who police say posed as a 16-year-old boy to meet 13- and 14-year-old girls potentially faces additional charges involving other alleged victims.

Joaquin Lopez, 21, was charged May 4 in 4th District Court with two counts of rape of a child, a first-degree felony; sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony; and 14 counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a third-degree felony.

On Monday and Tuesday, police held Lopez in the Wasatch County Jail for investigation of an additional 10 counts of sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of child and sexual abuse of a minor in four separate cases.

According to charging documents and multiple police affidavits, Lopez posed as a 16-year-old boy to meet teenage girls.

"Through the investigation of this case, it is apparent that Joaquin used deception to gain the trust of several victims and either had sex with them, forced them to have sex with him, or (inappropriately touched them) against the wishes of the victims," one affidavit states. "Because of his deceptive behavior, he was able to gain access to 11-,13- and 14-year-old girls. I believe he is a danger to the youth of any community he lives in. The parents of the victims had no idea their child was being raped by a 21-year-old man.

"All of the victims we are aware of are 14 or younger," an investigating officer wrote in the affidavit. "I believe Joaquin is a child predator and should be held without bail."

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 26.

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