Heber City man accused of sexual abuse, child pornography appears in court for bail hearing

HEBER CITY – A man accused of sexually abusing two children, who is also facing child pornography charges, appeared in court for a bail hearing Wednesday, where his attorney argued he be released under strict conditions.

Bryce Johnson stood silently next to his attorney inside the Fourth District courtroom. The 33-year-old was arrested earlier this month for child sex abuse. Police say there are at least five victims.

The operator of a bounce house is now facing new charges that include 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Investigators say they found pornographic images of pre-pubescent children inside his home, some of whom were involved in sexual acts.

His attorney, Susanne Gustin, pleaded with the judge to release him as his case goes through the process. Gustin reassured the judge her client would not contact any of the victims.

But prosecutors say this case is extremely disturbing on multiple levels. McKay King told the judge that the youth sports coach, ice skating teacher and foster parent is a threat to the community and should remain in custody.

“Mr. Johnson has crafted his entire life to place him in contact with children on a regular basis," King said.

In the end, Judge Jennifer A. Brown set bail for $150,000, cash only.

“We will aggressively fight the charges,” Gustin said.

Karen Martinez is watching this case closely. She says Johnson fostered her 15-year-old brother and was in the process of adopting him.

“My brother has had a rough life and Bryce was kind of that support for him, and that one person that kinda stuck around: until this.”

Mr. Johnson is due back in court August 2 for a status conference.