Lehi man facing sexual abuse crimes

A Lehi man charged in a child pornography case and awaiting sentencing in federal court is now facing charges of child sexual abuse in state court. Robert Edwin Francis, 41, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; and two additional counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. Federal authorities were first alerted to Francis from an investigation into a Bountiful doctor in production and possession of child pornography. The federal charges claim that Francis was also involved in such activities and would regularly discuss with Ward sexual fantasies of raping girls as young as 13. Federal authorities also believe the two exchanged child pornography with each other.

Francis pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography in November and is scheduled to be sentenced in the federal case on Jan 25. The state charges claim that he inappropriately touched young girls multiple times starting in 2010, but no court date has been issued for that case as of yet.

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