A Hyde Park man accused of possessing child sexual abuse material and multiple “custom-bulit” concealed cameras has been charged with multiple felonies in the 1st District Court.
Kurt Allen Jensen, 62, has been charged with 11 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Indicting documents allege Jensen distributed at least 50 files of child sexual abuse material on multiple occasions.
On Aug. 31, Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force agents observed peer-to-peer distribution of child sexual abuse material from Jensen’s Hyde Park address. After executing a search warrant on Jensen’s home on Oct. 7, according to documents filed with the court, agents disconnected an internet router and believed child sexual abuse material had been actively downloading when they arrived.
While searching the home agents found multiple “custom-built” hidden cameras located in the home. Documents state one camera was located in a bathroom air duct pointed at a bathtub, and other cameras were found in a nearby bedroom that children are believed to frequent. Forensic searches of SD cards, agents wrote, depict Jensen setting up the cameras and “placing them in specific spots.”
Agents wrote that other materials believed to be for creating additional hidden cameras were found in the home including a shower fixture with a “camera affixed to the back, and a soap box with wiring affixed to the inside by putty.”
Jensen was booked in the Cache County Jail on Oct. 7 and released without bail.
The following day, prosecutors filed a motion for a no-bail arrest warrant based on the probable cause statement and Jensen’s criminal history — he was charged with second-degree sexual abuse of a child in 1993 and a class-A voyeurism in 2007.
Defense counsel for Jensen requested a detention hearing prior to the issuance of a warrant based on Utah House Bill 206 — which took effect on Oct. 1 and amends bail and pretrial release conditions — and stated he had already been released with pretrial supervision and an ankle monitor.
Cache County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Roy Hall said the number of pretrial detainees has gone down around 90 percent since HB 206 took effect. Under the formerly used bail schedule someone with similar charges would likely have had to post $100,000 bail, Hall said, but the language of the bill grants “the least restrictive available conditions” for release.
“It’s just unconscionable to me,” Hall said. “I’m very concerned for public safety with this bill.”
Hall said he understood the issues the bill is trying to address, but was “not optimistic” when the bill was introduced. For Hall, the bill is not only demoralizing for officers and financially deflating for bail bonds businesses, but it also threatens public safety when “habitual offenders” are released.
“This bill is going to get somebody killed,” Hall said.
The bill passed on March 11 with a 25-1 vote during the Utah State legislature general session.
During the session, bill sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, expressed the wide-ranging support of the bill from organizations representing prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement throughout the state. According to Weiler, the then-used bail schedule only took into consideration the severity of the offense charged and not the defendant’s circumstances — effectively leaving those without the necessary resources to sit in jail longer than their wealthy counterparts.
Weiler said over half of inmates statewide are pretrial detainees and have not been convicted of crimes.
“House Bill 206 preserves monetary bail as a condition of release but also expands the tools available to judges to adequately address an individual’s public safety risk,” Weiler said. “What this bill does is provide that judges should make pretrial release determinations using the least restrictive, reasonably available conditions.”
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, supported the bill, stating it would help protect the families and the employment of first time offenders. Hillyard said someone held on $50,000 bail, for instance, would have to pay $5,000 cash to a standard bail bondsman.
“Many people don’t have $5,000 cash,” Hillyard said. “We’ve changed the law somewhat, you can post a credit card, but not very many people have a $50,000 limit on their credit card.”
An initial appearance for Jensen has yet to be scheduled.