PROVO, Utah — Utah County District Attorney David Leavitt said Wednesday he was wrongfully charged with cannibalism, as well as the murder of young children.
The charge, according to Leavitt, stems from an investigation by Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith. Additionally, Leavitt believes the Utah County Sheriff is using his position for political gain, as the Utah County Sheriff and Utah County District Attorney are re-elected in 2022.
Leavitt called for an independent investigation into a press release released on Tuesday (cited below). And he said he wants an investigation into Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, as well as Smith’s office.
The allegations stem from a previous case
On Wednesday, Leavitt said he received a copy of an alleged witness statement from someone he called a “tragically mentally ill woman.”
“And for the first time in the 15 or 20 years since the report was published, I learned that my wife and I were part of these allegations, alleging that we were guilty of cannibalizing young children,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt says the woman in question filed sexual abuse charges against 15 to 20 people before she was even stationed in Utah County. That case was thrown out, he said, because the allegations were not deemed credible by a special victims unit at the time.
Leavitt called the Utah County Sheriff as well as the sheriff’s spokesperson, Sgt. Spencer Cannon, to retire.
“We are doing our job,” Sheriff Smith said
On Tuesday, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in finding more victims of what the sheriff’s office described as a network of ritual child sex abusers. On Wednesday afternoon, Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith held the second press conference of the day.
It all started with Sheriff Smith reading a press release, sent to the media on Tuesday:
“In April 2021, an investigation was opened into ritual child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking that occurred in Utah County. The ensuing investigation found that other victims had previously reported similar forms of ritual sexual abuse and trafficking that occurred in Utah County, Juab County, and Sanpete County between 1990 and 2010. Parts of these claims have been confirmed.
“These allegations are being investigated by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with other local and federal agencies. We implore the public and urge victims, or persons with knowledge of these crimes, to contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit, so that they can receive all possible assistance We understand that there are people who are concerned for their safety and/or their welfare, who have been silenced. We need your help.”
“Charges that go beyond this statement,” Smith said, “are false.”
Detectives from the Special Victims Unit with @UCSO, together with investigators from several counties and federal agencies, are investigating reports of ritual child sexual abuse dating back to 1990. We need your help. https://t.co/eJ4rwoElkA
— Utah County Sheriff (@UCSO) May 31, 2022
Smith also stressed that this was “not a politically motivated investigation” and that a year ago his office was contacted by people reporting crimes of a similar nature to those the prosecutor alluded to. of Utah County, Leavitt.
“Leavitt,” Sheriff Smith said, “is using his authority and his pulpit to intimidate, distract, and distort the facts of an ongoing investigation.”
“The primary focus of this investigation is child sexual abuse,” Smith said, referring to allegations of cannibalism and murder made by Utah County District Attorney Leavitt.