Utah AG’s Office reveals pornography was found on former attorney’s work computer two years ago

Sep 16, 2022, 6:10 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid new revelations about a criminal case against a retired attorney from the Utah Attorney General’s Office, the KSL Investigators have learned about the findings of an internal investigation into alleged misconduct by the lawyer in 2020.

Last month, an investigation by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit led to Gary Bell’s arrest for allegedly possessing child pornography. Bell, 66, was released this month on an electronic monitor, only to be arrested again six days later when detectives found evidence that led them to believe Bell had also produced child pornography.

Bell worked in a Utah AG’s Office division that handles child welfare cases. Through a public records request, the KSL Investigators learned Bell was the subject of an internal investigation in 2020.

Previously, the AG’s Office declined to release the findings of the investigation to the KSL Investigators, claiming doing so could interfere with legal or administrative proceedings. But Friday, a spokesperson released a statement confirming Bell had been investigated for files on his work computer.

A letter from Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office to Bell, a then employee, dated Aug. 28, 2020, informed him, “due to allegations of misconduct, you are being placed on paid administrative leave.”

The following month, Bell signed a notice that he was being questioned in conjunction with an official investigation for the AG’s Office that stated, “we may also question you relative to your off-duty conduct.”

A week later, Bell resigned.

“Because he was an employee, and because of concerns about the extent of his pornography use on a work computer, our office turned the evidence over to Sandy Police Department (an outside law enforcement agency) to avoid a conflict of interest,” spokesperson Rich Piatt wrote in an email. “The investigation is on-going.”

Sandy Police Sgt. Greg Moffitt confirmed they took on the case due to a conflict of interest and said the investigation remains active. No charges have been filed.

“That’s a valid question,” Moffitt said, when asked why the investigation is still ongoing two years later.

“When we start looking at cases where they involve digital data, any sort of data, or several devices, or even some particular devices, we can’t just open those up and with a couple of keystrokes, see what it is that’s on there,” he explained. “Most of these files – without getting into the nitty gritty of things – a lot of them are protected, a lot of them are encrypted. We also have a search warrant process we have to go through.”

Moffitt said the process of investigating cases involving digital evidence can sometimes be “painstakingly slow,” but the department is prioritizing the investigation into Bell.

In a statement provided to KSL Friday, Attorney General Sean Reyes commented on the case directly for the first time:

While everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence, if these alleged facts are true, I’m disgusted and deeply disturbed by this conduct. I hope Utah County aggressively pursues prosecution. If not, we will. If these facts are proven true and he’s found guilty, it will be a most egregious breach of public trust by a former public servant who was supposed to be protecting our children.

While Reyes’ office has released some of Bell’s personnel records to KSL, the office cannot release the statements Bell made to investigators back in 2020 – that’s because Utah lawmakers passed legislation this year that now keeps those statements secret.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Matt Luers says the "No Soliciting" sign at his Sandy home is hard to miss, but solicitors continue...

Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

What are the rules & your rights when ‘No Soliciting’ signs don’t keep salespeople at bay?

While many Utahns put up signs to keep solicitors from knocking on their doors, a man in Sandy says the knocks keep coming. He decided to Get Gephardt, who explores what those signs really mean.

12 months ago

Car driving...

Matt Gephardt

How you can lower your car insurance costs even as rates continue to climb

It would be a good time to double check with your insurance agent and make sure you are getting all the discounts available to you. Auto insurance rates are catching up with the costs of, well, everything that has gone up thanks to inflation.

12 months ago

For months, the KSL Investigators have examined why only a small fraction of reported sexual assaul...

Daniella Rivera and Keira Farrimond

The challenge of consent: Utah’s rape law & low prosecution rate

“Listen up,” Rayley Wadsworth pleaded with social media users in a video filmed inside a stationary car last month. “If you’re in Utah, or a woman in Utah, please listen for just a second.”

12 months ago

(KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

Layton woman struggles to claim money owed to her from her dissolved business

Utah's Unclaimed Property Division has millions of dollars that it wants to reconnect with the rightful owner. But for a Layton woman, getting her money back has been easier said than done. So she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.

12 months ago

Hopes that were lost as part of a land collapse. (KSL TV/Chopper 5)...

Mike Headrick and Cindy St. Clair

Draper City: Building laws make it hard to say ‘no’ to risky development

The question was posed to KSL Investigators — how could Draper City allow development on hazardous land? It turns out, saying “no” is a difficult option.

12 months ago

(KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt helps Utahn get refund for not-delivered TV

If you pay hundreds of dollars for a new TV, you expect to GET the TV. But when a West Jordan woman couldn't get her TV or a refund, it was time to Get Gephardt.

12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

Utah AG’s Office reveals pornography was found on former attorney’s work computer two years ago