A former South Jordan fire captain has been bound over for trial on two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, in connection with images prosecutors say the man downloaded on a computer.

Third District Judge Glenn Iwasaki bound Michael Farnsworth, 46, over for trial following a Tuesday preliminary hearing. Farnsworth's next court date is an arraignment before 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton.

One of Farnsworth's daughters discovered he had a MySpace.com account, but he said he had created it to keep tabs on his children, according to court documents. Later, he told his wife he had set up another MySpace.com account and viewed pornography but deleted everything after she questioned him.

Farnsworth's wife then put computer monitors and other equipment into a locked storage unit, and he used her laptop computer with a protected password.

A co-worker of Farnsworth's wife tipped off police, and they began investigating the materials on the computers in the storage shed. Law enforcement officials found images of child pornography even though software to wipe the hard drives had been used to get rid of the images, a situation that "made recovery difficult and impossible in some instances," court documents stated.

"Farnsworth stated that for the past few years he had accessed both adult pornography and child pornography" at work and at home, and over the past five years had sought out images of children ages 13-17.

The Utah Attorney General's Office headed the investigation because of the potential conflict of interest.

Farnsworth had worked with the fire department since 1991 but resigned July 18, which was the day he met with investigators.


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com