Ex-Salt Lake City school board member now facing federal child porn charges

Joél-Léhi Organista was already charged with child exploitation and object rape of a child in state court.

(Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City School District) Pictured is Joél-Léhi Organista.

The former Salt Lake City school board member who resigned when he was faced with state charges of downloading child pornography and sexually assaulting a boy under the age of 14 is now facing additional federal charges.

Joél-Léhi Organista, who was elected to the board last fall and resigned on June 4, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged in U.S. District Court with production, receipt, transportation and possession of child pornography. According to the charges, Organista enticed and coerced a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” for child porn.

Organista has also been charged in Utah’s 3rd District Court with one count of object rape of a child and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all first-degree felonies.

Organista, 29, was arrested after police received a tip that he had downloaded and saved files containing child pornography on a Dropbox account. Officers reported finding at least five images and videos of exploited minors on his computer. According to a probable cause statement, one picture showed a man sexually assaulting a young girl; another showed a child around age 3.

Police said they searched Organista’s other devices, including his phone, and discovered a Snapchat account in which he had asked children who identified themselves as between ages 12 and 17 for naked photos and directed “the children to do sexual acts.” The object rape count, according to court documents, comes from a conversation he had with a boy on the social media app.