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Utahn accused of sexually assaulting girl he met online; police fear more victims

A 40-year-old man has been arrested in Davis County for allegedly meeting an 11-year-old girl online, grooming her and sexually assaulting her.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested in Davis County for allegedly meeting an 11-year-old girl online, grooming her and sexually assaulting her. (Shutterstock)



FARMINGTON — Police on Monday arrested a Utah man accused of meeting an 11-year-old girl online, grooming her and then sexually assaulting her at a local park. Investigators fear there could be additional victims.

Phillip Brandon Stokes, 40, was booked into the Davis County Jail for investigation of rape of a child, three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, two counts of enticing a minor, four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, four counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor and obstruction of justice.

The Davis County Sheriff's Office started investigating Stokes on July 27 after receiving a report of a 40-year-old man who was communicating with an 11-year-old girl on a popular social media platform, according to a police booking affidavit.

"The report stated that the online conversations were sexual in nature and indicated that the suspect met the victim in person and sexually abused the victim," the affidavit states.

Investigators traced the social media account back to Stokes and learned that after contacting the girl he convinced her to communicate with him on a texting app, where Stokes quickly turned the conversation sexual, according to the affidavit. Stokes allegedly told the girl he was 17.

Detectives located the 11-year-old girl who told them that she met up with Stokes at a park in Davis County where he forcibly touched her and made her perform sexual acts despite the girl telling him to stop "20 times," the affidavit says.

On Monday, agents from the sheriff's office and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force served a search warrant at Stokes' residence.

"He admitted to meeting the victim at least two times in a park in Davis County," the affidavit states. "Stokes admitted that he is a stranger to the victim and that he began communication with the victim with the intent to commit the crimes described (in the affidavit)."

Stokes also told police he had sexually abused at least two other children and touched multiple other victims, according to the affidavit. Those cases were still being investigated Tuesday.

"Stokes has admitted to grooming and targeting multiple victims," police wrote in the arrest report.

When Stokes was arrested, officers discovered that he had deleted his social media accounts and destroyed his cellphone when he learned the 11-year-old girl had contacted police.

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