Man sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for receiving child pornography and sex abuse

LEHI, Utah – 41-year-old Robert Edwin Francis was sentenced Monday, to 144 months in federal prison, and 10 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to receipt of child pornography in Nov. 2017.

As part of a plea agreement, Francis admitted that in Aug. of 2017, he requested sexually explicit images from a Yahoo account.

“I received images in the form of live video chat depicting a man sexually abusing a child. I admit that I engaged in sexually explicit conduct involving children via an on-line social network,” Francis’ plea agreement stated.

Francis also admitted to possessing at least 150 but no more than 300 images of child pornography.

“I know that these images transferred across state lines because they were transported via the Internet,” the agreement said.

Francis was also charged in the Fourth Judicial District Court of Utah for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, as well as two counts of forcible sexual abuse.  These charges stemmed from a prior incident with a family member, who claimed that Francis abused her, touching her inappropriately while giving her “massages.” As part of a plea bargain, both counts of forcible sexual abuse were dropped, and one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child was also dropped.

According to Melodie Rydalch with the Utah Office of the Attorney General, “This case resulted from the investigation of Dr. Nathan Ward.” Ward was arrested in Utah and charged with 11 felonies, including aggravated sexual child abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor.