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Charges: South Jordan man solicited girls for nudes, paid tens of thousands of dollars

A man accused of contacting more than 200 girls in Utah and offering them money for nude selfies, paying tens of thousands to more than two dozen who agreed, according to investigators, was charged Friday.

A man accused of contacting more than 200 girls in Utah and offering them money for nude selfies, paying tens of thousands to more than two dozen who agreed, according to investigators, was charged Friday. (Shutterstock)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who investigators say offered approximately 200 girls throughout Utah money for sending him nude photos, and paid tens of thousands to more than two dozen girls who agreed, now faces numerous charges.

Jesse Knight, 36, of South Jordan, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with of four counts of human trafficking of a child, a first-degree felony; 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; dealing in harmful materials to a minor, a third-degree felony; and three counts of enticing a minor, a class A misdemeanor.

Knight is accused of contacting girls on Snapchat and other social media apps and asking "'wanna make money?' and then paying them money for providing sexually explicit photos of themselves," according to charging documents. "Knight admitted he paid underage girls approximately $30,000 over a span of approximately three years for sexually explicit pictures.

"If the underage girl refused, Knight would pressure the child until she agreed to send him the images," the charges continued. "Several underage girls throughout the state of Utah were positively identified as receiving money from Knight for sexually explicit photos."

He also paid someone to take explicit photos of a 3-year-old girl, the charges state.

"Knight stated he had contacted 'lots of girls' for sexually explicit photos but did not have an exact number of the underage girls he has paid. After a review of Knight's social media and payment accounts, it is estimated he has paid approximately 27 underage girls for sexually explicit photos," according to the charges.

He also sent some of the girls pictures of his genitals and told them he wanted to engage in sex acts with them, but claimed he never actually met with any of the girls, the charges state.

The investigation started a year ago and culminated with a search warrant served on Knight's residence on Wednesday followed by his arrest. Investigators say Knight had been soliciting girls as recently as the day he was arrested, according to the charges.

Prosecutors have requested that Knight be held in the Salt Lake County Jail with no bail pending trial, calling him a "substantial danger" to the community and "specifically to children in the community."

Investigators also believe there are numerous other victims who have not been identified. Anyone who believes they have been victimized by Knight can contact the Utah Attorney General's Office at 801-281-1200.

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