Salt Lake County Jail
Robert Edwin Francis

LEHI — A Lehi man awaiting sentencing in federal court in a child pornography case now faces new charges of child sex abuse in state court.

Robert Edwin Francis, 41, was charged Wednesday in 4th District Court with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; and two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

In September, Francis was indicted in federal court with production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. His arrest stemmed from an investigation into Bountiful doctor Nathan Clark Ward, 55, who was indicted Sept. 13 in U.S. District Court on charges of production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

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When Ward was arrested, a probable cause report indicated he was being investigated for online conversations in which he allegedly discussed raping young girls, ages 13 and 15, and described "desires to rape females and minors."

Federal prosecutors believe the other person involved in that conversation was Francis. Investigators also said they believe Francis and Ward exchanged child pornography.

In November, Francis pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 25.

According to the new charges, Francis inappropriately touched a young girl multiple times starting in 2010.

— Pat Reavy