Another disturbing case of child abuse investigated by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office led to the arrest of a man who was booked into jail for investigation of more than 40 counts of sexually abusing three children he adopted with his wife.

The Kearns man, 37, was abusing two boys and a girl in his house, all 9 or 10 years old, for the past three years, according to a report from the Salt Lake County Jail. The man raped, molested and assaulted the children with a screwdriver handle in their house, according to jail records and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak.

Over the weekend, the man told an acquaintance what he had been doing, Jaroscak said.

"(The friend) said, 'Turn yourself in,"' he said.

After interviewing the man and his children, police booked him for investigation of 24 counts of sodomy on a child, 13 counts of sexual abuse of a child, four counts of object rape of a child and four counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor for showing them pornography, according to jail records.

The Deseret Morning News does not print the names of criminal defendants accused of sexually abusing their own children to protect the identities of the victims.

Jaroscak said the couple had other children who were not molested. The children were allowed to remain in the custody of their mother who reportedly had no knowledge of the abuse. The family has six children; two of the oldest were adopted in Oregon. The couple's foster-care license expired last month and they have not renewed it.

This is the third high profile child abuse case investigated by the sheriff's office in the past few weeks.

Last week, Amy Ellene Roberts, 30, and 29-year-old Derrick Lee Crispin, were charged in 3rd District Court with nine counts of felony child abuse and obstruction of justice. Roberts' 2-year-old daughter was taken to the hospital with chemical burns on her face that caused her eye lids to swell shut, as well as burns on her hands in additional numerous cuts and broken bones.

Also this year, Thomas Ryan Williams, 21, was charged with 18 counts of second-degree felony child abuse after doctors discovered his 5-week-old daughter had numerous broken bones all over her body. Williams's girlfriend, Lupe Cristal Perez, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a fugitive from justice warrant. Both Williams and Perez were already wanted in Las Vegas for investigation of child abuse homicide in the death of their 2-month-old son in 2006.

In the latest case, officials said the man and his wife have four adopted children — one of whom was not victimized.

The state Division of Child and Family Services did two background checks on the family, in 2004 and 2007, said DCFS spokeswoman Elizabeth Sollis. Both checks raised no flags.

Prior to April of 2007, when the Adam Walsh Bill took effect, background checks for adoption in Utah included a statewide criminal background check as well as checks on the sex offender, child abuse, elder abuse and licensing registries. If a person had lived outside of Utah within the past five years, a nationwide FBI criminal background check was conducted. Today, all foster-care applications go through a nationwide background check regardless of how long they've lived in Utah.

Sollis said DCFS was assisting law enforcement in the case and making sure the children are provided with counseling.

"It's an awful situation. Our primary concern is for the safety of the kids," she said.

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