Criminal charges have been filed against a man whose arrest was publicized in YouTube-esque detail on the Utah Attorney General's newly revamped Web site.
Adam B. Rich, 26, was charged Thursday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court with one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony; and two counts of class- A misdemeanor unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
Rich is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on the charges.
The arrest was videotaped and publicized on Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's newly redesigned Web site, www.attorneygeneral.utah.gov. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized it, accusing Shurtleff of political grandstanding.
ACLU attorneys said they were concerned the video was coming from the government, as opposed to an independent news media outlet. The public may conclude that any arrested person shown in a law enforcement video is automatically guilty, as opposed to the principle of innocent until proven guilty, the critics say.
In an editorial published in Friday's Deseret News, Shurtleff responded to his critics, including this newspaper's editorial board. He noted that anyone accused of a crime is, in fact, innocent until proven guilty."We believe the video serves many purposes, including: It will be a deterrent and sends a strong message that no one is above the law," he wrote. "It lets the public know what is being done to fight crime and provides transparency in the justice system. It may encourage witnesses and others to come forward with information about the case."
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