October 30, 2022

USA: Utah County Sheriff's Office Has Arrested Suspect In An Ongoing Ritualistic Child Sex Abuse Investigation. Homeland Security Investigating Former SLC DA On Suspicion Of Human Trafficking.

Sep 29, 2022: How is Leavitt linked to ritualistic sex abuse suspect? Videos obtained by the FOX 13 Investigates team are revealing new information about the man charged in Utah County on suspicion of ritualistic child sex abuse and his ties to Utah County Attorney David Leavitt.

Fox13, Salt Lake City UT local
written by Adam Herbets
Sunday October 2, 2022

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — The Utah County Sheriff's Office has arrested a suspect in an ongoing ritualistic child sex abuse investigation.

Former therapist David Hamblin, 68, was previously charged with 18 counts of sexual assault. He was taken into custody Wednesday morning and booked on the following:
  • 3 counts of sodomy on a child
  • Rape of a child
  • 2 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child
  • Lewdness involving a child
According to records obtained by FOX 13 News, Hamblin had previously confessed to sexually assaulting at least one of his female family members in an undercover phone recording.

"I am sorry for raping you," Hamblin reportedly said. "I'm not saying it isn't true... I'm not saying somebody in my body didn't do it."

The Utah County Attorney’s Office dropped all charges.

Hamblin lost his license and was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to Wikipedia, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian church that considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ." Just like the Jehovah Witnesses, they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and do not believe that Jesus Christ is the living breathing Word of God that was made flesh to walk among us. (emphasis mine)
In an interview with FOX 13 News in April, alleged victim Brett Bluth described a long period of abuse and grooming by Hamblin as he tried to “heal” Bluth of his homosexuality.

Bluth expressed optimism that charges would be filed against Hamblin.

“I do think it will be different (this time),” Bluth said. “Hypnosis was a big part of (my treatment). He told me from the very beginning, that that was his main technique."

Bluth said Hamblin spent hours each week trying to convince Bluth that he was abused during his childhood and that he has multiple personality disorder "due to systemic ritual and sexual abuse."

"He had a yellow notepad with lined papers of notes, and he would read them back to me saying, 'This is what one of your personalities said while you were under hypnosis,'" Bluth said. "I told him I was never under... (but) I went home from those sessions thinking I had hurt other people."

Bluth said Hamblin hinted at the need for his patient to perform sex acts for several months in order to be cured of his homosexuality.

"He started suggesting that the semen of a righteous man would then undo the damage that the semen of the unrighteous men had done," Bluth described. "He put his arm on the back of the sofa, and he put his other arm back, and he waited — and we sat there in silence... He put his hands on my head and gave me a Mormon priesthood and blessed the sperm."

Years later, Bluth confronted Hamblin and told him to turn over his license to the state.

Although Hamblin is no longer a licensed therapist, he often conducts therapeutic "peyote ceremonies" through his church and has advocated for its use.

"I think the emotional abuse was far more damaging than the sexual abuse," Bluth said.

The sheriff's office announced an investigation into ritualistic sexual abuse on May 31, 2022. The investigation was opened the previous year after the department learned of multiple victims reporting similar incidents that took place in Utah County, Juab County, and Sanpete County between 1990-2010.

More than 130 potential victims came forward, with officials describing the majority of those tips as “credible.”

Sgt. Spencer Cannon said he wasn't sure how many of the victims mentioned Hamblin but that a new female victim came forward in April 2022 to describe being sexually assaulted by Hamblin between the ages of six and thirteen.

According to booking documents, in at least one instance, other children were present during the abuse.

In another instance, the female victim described being ordered to perform sex acts on an "adult female."

Cannon confirmed the "adult female" is not considered a victim and declined to comment on whether she is considered a suspect.

He stated UCSO anticipates there will be additional arrests.

On June 1, 2022, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt held a press conference, announcing himself as a subject of the investigation and describing his link to Hamblin.

"This therapist was my elder's quorum president in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was my neighbor. I had a family connection. When his wife learned of whatever he was doing, she divorced him, and I testified at that divorce hearing. I'm well aware of who the therapist is, and I'm well aware of many of the players here," Leavitt said. "I had a friendship with he and his wife to the extent that I went into court and testified on behalf of his wife to protect his children from him."

Leavitt said he felt the investigation was "politically motivated."

“There is no organized ring of abuse. It was debunked more than 10 years ago,” Leavitt said. “The allegations that are there are so outlandish and so crazy that – yeah, they’re just not true... That this all occurs less than one week before ballots drop in an election in which I am participating causes me tremendous concern.”

In August, a judge listened to testimony from Hamblin and his attorney, asking for his record to be expunged. The Utah County Attorney's Office and Utah Attorney General's Office opposed the expungement due to the active investigation.

At that hearing, another prosecutor with the Utah County Attorney's Office contradicted Leavitt, arguing the case was not "politically motivated."

This time around, the Utah County Attorney's Office will not handle the prosecution of Hamblin. Instead, Juab County Attorney Ryan Peters was appointed as a special prosecutor.

UCSO declined to comment on whether Leavitt's comments disqualified his office from prosecuting the case.


KSL.com September 28, 2022: A victim came forward in April and told investigators that Hamblin started sexually assaulting her in the mid-1980s when she was 6 or 7 and her family lived in the same Provo neighborhood as Hamblin. She said she would go to his house where she and other children were babysat by him, according to a police booking affidavit.

The woman told police that Hamblin made her and two other children perform sex acts and then he would critique them.

"The victim described the shame that she felt and her confusion at the time of the sexual assault. The two other child victims who were present when the assault occurred have both been interviewed and have corroborated what this victim has disclosed," according to the affidavit.

The woman told detectives about two other specific incidents of sexual assault over the next six or seven years, including being forced headfirst into a sleeping bag while Hamblin sexually assaulted her, the affidavit alleges.
KSL News Jun 1, 2022: Utah County Attorney calls for outside review of sheriff over ritual child abuse investigation. Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is calling for an outside review of Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, saying if politics motivated the reexamination of a ritual child abuse case that names Leavitt, the sheriff should resign. Smith refutes the case is politically motivated.

KSLTV5 NBC News, Utah local
written by Daniella and Annie Knox
June 1, 2022

PROVO, Utah – Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, vying for re-election, said Wednesday the reopening of a decades-old case naming him in allegations of ritual child abuse is a political attack.

He called for a review of the case and of Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, one day after Smith’s office announced an investigation of reports of ritualistic child sexual abuse that occurred in Utah, Juab and Sanpete counties between 1990 and 2010.

“The sheriff’s office is using its position for political gain,” Leavitt said.

Smith strongly denied the claim. The two top law enforcers in the county traded barbs in unusual, back-to-back news conferences Wednesday.

The vague announcement from the sheriff’s office Tuesday doesn’t name Leavitt. Rather, Leavitt was the one to confirm he’s named in a victim statement contained in hundreds of pages of police investigative reports he said are tied to the investigation.

Leavitt said the investigation is tied to a case that was dismissed in 2014 and said an outside review could ferret out whether Smith dug up old documents for political reasons.

“I challenge him to resign himself if his office is being used for such illicit political purposes,” Leavitt said during a news conference at his office in Provo. He noted the primary election is just weeks away and said ballots will be mailed out to voters within days.

Smith said he’s not resigning, and he believes investigating crimes against children is a good use of public money.

“This is not a politically motivated investigation,” he told reporters at his office in Spanish Fork Wednesday.

As for the timing of Tuesday’s release, Smith said the investigation got to a point where his employees believed there were other victims and wanted to gather information from them.

Smith would not name any suspects or confirm Leavitt was connected to the current investigation.

“I believe that Leavitt is using his authority and his pulpit to bully, distract and mischaracterize the facts of an ongoing investigation,” Smith said.

Leavitt said he only learned Tuesday that a witness statement tied to the 2012 investigation contained disturbing allegations against him and his wife.

“I learned that my wife and I were part of those allegations, alleging that we were guilty of cannibalizing young children and murdering young children.” He vehemently denied them.

Leavitt noted that prosecutors filed charges against one man roughly 10 years ago but said the case was subsequently dismissed “because the evidence was so outlandish and so unbelievable.”

Leavitt said the man ultimately charged in connection with the allegations was his neighbor for a time and someone he knew from church. Leavitt said he testified against the man at a divorce proceeding because he believed the man to be a danger to his children.

A prosecutor made a motion to dismiss charges of child rape and sexual abuse “due to trouble getting discovery to defense counsel,” according to court records. The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled at a later date.

Leavitt provided copies of a 151-page document labeled as a “victim statement” that describes the alleged crimes in detail. The statement names Leavitt and more than a dozen others as part of a group that practiced ritual sexual abuse of children.

The KSL Investigators also obtained a copy through a public records request to the Provo Police Department.

Leavitt called the report “151 pages of utter baloney” and described the woman who reported the allegations to authorities as “tragically mentally ill.”

Smith took aim at that characterization. “These are victims of crime who have mustered the courage to come forward, and this is what we call them is mentally ill?”

Smith said victims of alleged crimes should not be shamed or intimidated for having the courage to come forward.

While Leavitt mentioned cannibalism and murder, Smith said the investigation is focused on ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking. The sheriff’s office investigation began in April 2021, and their digging led them to similar crimes that investigators believe took place between 1990 and 2010 in Utah, Sanpete and Juab counties.

Smith said his deputies are working with the sheriff’s offices in Juab and Sanpete counties, along with the Nephi and Provo police departments and the FBI to investigate. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed the agency is assisting in the effort.

Since asking for anyone with knowledge of the alleged crimes to come forward on Tuesday, the sheriff said at least 20 people have gotten in touch to say they were either victimized or know someone who was.

Leavitt, a Republican, was elected county attorney in 2018. He and the sheriff’s office have previously sparred over Leavitt’s decision to dismantle the Special Victims Unit in the county attorney’s office. They’ve also been at odds over Leavitt’s plans to move away from offering plea deals in favor of more trials and prosecute fewer low-level drug crimes.

The Utah County Fraternal Order of Police issued a letter of “no confidence” in Leavitt. The county attorney has said criticism was bound to follow his efforts at reforming the criminal justice system.

Smith has endorsed Leavitt’s challenger, Jeff Gray, in the county attorney’s race.
FOX 13 News Utah published June 27, 2022: Video raises ethical questions about Leavitt's adoption of Native American child. The FOX 13 Investigates team has obtained a video of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt discussing his "strategy” to adopt a Native American baby, allegedly taking advantage of his political influence to overcome a federal law designed to protect Native American children from being adopted by non-Native families.

FOX13 News, Utah local
written by Adam Herbets
June 27, 2022

The video was entered into evidence as part of a human trafficking investigation into David Leavitt.

The FOX 13 Investigates team has obtained a video of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt discussing his "strategy” to adopt a Native American baby, allegedly taking advantage of his political influence to overcome a federal law designed to protect Native American children from being adopted by non-Native families.

The video was recorded by a documentarian in 2020. It has since been submitted to Homeland Security Investigations as part of a criminal human trafficking investigation.

The 17-minute clip first shows Leavitt expressing his struggle with the decision whether to pursue the adoption.

Leavitt went on to explain how he tried to broker a deal with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana, offering them the ability to export buffalo to Ukraine. 👈

Although he is not blood-related to the child, the little girl was considered Leavitt’s step-foster-great niece.

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘How in the world am I going to do this?’” Leavitt described. “Finally, this strategy comes into my head, and if you’ve got five minutes, I’ll tell you the story.”

The “strategy,” as Leavitt described, involved boarding a plane to Montana in 2017. Upon arrival, Leavitt said he walked onto the reservation for an unscheduled meeting with the president of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

FOX 13 News has confirmed the tribal president at the time was Lawrence Jace Killsback.

“And I say to him, ‘I’m here for two reasons,’” Leavitt described. “I said, ‘I’m here to tell you the second reason first, but I’ll tell you the first reason second – but before I tell you the second reason, I’ll tell you a story.’”

Leavitt’s story touched on the importance of family. Then it highlighted his close friendship with former Ukranian president Victor Yuschenko.

Victor and I have this goal of introducing buffalo into western Ukraine,” Leavitt recounted, “and you’re a sovereign nation, and you have a buffalo herd, and Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and it doesn’t have a buffalo herd, but it wants one, and so I’m here to see if we can form a bilateral agreement between the people of the Northern Cheyenne and the people of Ukraine to introduce buffalo to western Ukraine.”

“At that point, (Killsback) was all ears,” Leavitt continued. “And I said, ‘That’s the second reason why I’m here. The first reason why I’m here is this. We want to adopt one of your people.’”

Leavitt said Killsback gave his blessing, but Tribal Social Services did not.

“Tribal Social Services looked at us and said, ‘We’re not giving you this baby,’” Leavitt said. “I just said, ‘You know what? You are shameless.’ I just let her have it with both barrels... There’s such a prejudice in the Native community about a non-Native adopting a Native.”

As a last-ditch effort, Leavitt said he went back to the tribal president for help.

“(Killsback) said, ‘Listen, the Leavitts are friends of the tribe... They’re assets to the tribe for more than just this,’” Leavitt said. “I left, and five minutes later the phone rang and it was the social worker saying, ‘I think I’ve figured out a way to get this child to you.’”

Leavitt said he took home the child that same day in 2017.

Killsback declined to comment. At the time of the 2020 interview, he was in prison for fraud in an unrelated case.
Stephanie Benally, a Native American specialist for Utah Foster Care, said the adoption of any Native American child raises questions about the Indian Child Welfare Act.

“It’s best for the Native children to remain in Native communities,” Benally said. “Not every child needs to grow up in the city, green grass, white picket fence house.”

Benally explained the cultural and historical significance of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was passed in 1978 in order to protect Native American children from being adopted by outsiders.

“It’s federal legislation to protect the Native children and Native families to keep them together,” Benally said. “Prior to the act, 25-35 percent of Native children were removed from their home and placed in non-Native homes.”

When asked about the child’s relationship to Leavitt as a “step-foster-great niece,” Benally said that the designation of “family” is up to the tribe, even if not related by blood.
According to court documents obtained by FOX 13 News, the child’s biological mother willingly gave up her parental rights, but the biological father did not.

The court ultimately ruled in Leavitt’s favor, approving the adoption.

Linda F. Smith – a member of the Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee and former ethics professor at the University of Utah – agreed to review the video.

“Let me put it this way: I would like our elected officials to be servants of the public, and not self-serving,” Smith said. “He was clearly politicking to get his way... It was a little smarmy way to talk somebody into letting you adopt a child that might otherwise be better raised by the tribe.”

Criminal investigation

Leavitt is the same county attorney who named himself as the subject of a ritualistic child sex abuse investigation. Last month, he held a press conference to announce he is not a murderer, a cannibal, or an abuser.

Then he accused Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith of playing politics shortly before the primary election.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office did not name Leavitt as a subject, even after the press conference.

“This is not a politically motivated investigation,” the sheriff insisted at his own press conference. “We won’t be intimidated by Mr. Leavitt, by his attempts to derail our investigation... We do not discuss the names of victims, and we do not discuss the names of suspects.”

Noel Engels, a former analyst with Homeland Security Investigations, confirmed his team had been investigating sexual allegations against Leavitt for several years.

Then, in 2020, Engels received a copy of the video. HSI added the video to the case file, investigating Leavitt on suspicion of human trafficking.

“It’s literally our job to make sure children are safe,” Engels said. “Is it disturbing? Yeah, it is. You have to kind of separate that and not let emotions affect your investigation at all.”

Five months after receiving the video, documents show Engels and his team were removed from the case.
Engels has since filed a whistleblower complaint and received a letter from the United States Office of Special Counsel in response.

“You alleged that HSI improperly terminated an investigation into allegations involving current Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt,” wrote attorney John U. Young. “We emphasize that, while (Office of Special Counsel) has found a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing based on the information you submitted in support of your allegations, our referral to the Secretary for investigation is not a final determination that the allegations are substantiated.”

“This remains an open matter under investigation until the agency’s final report is forwarded to the President and Congress.”

FOX 13 News reached out to Leavitt for an explanation last week.

According to his spokesperson, “Mr. Leavitt would be happy to tell the entire story.”

More than 72 hours later, the spokesperson later clarified that Leavitt is not able to meet until after the primary election.

“Anything related to what you’ve brought up has no bearing on his performance as the Utah County Attorney and is not relevant,” she wrote.

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