Prosecutors drop several charges against Smithfield man accused of child sex abuse

LOGAN — State attorneys have dropped one of the cases against Daniel Stapley. The 43-year-old Smithfield man was arrested last year and charged with downloading child pornography and sexually abusing two children.

Court records show, Stapley appeared in 1st District Court for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and dealing in materials harmful to a minor. Prosecutors had accused him, after finding chat room messages about the crime on his smart phone.

During Monday’s court appearance, Prosecutor Jacob Gordon said he was filing a motion to dismiss the charges because he couldn’t locate a witness or further evidence in the case. Judge Thomas Willmore granted the motion and ordered Stapley to appear again November 13 on the other cases.

During an August preliminary hearing, Stapley was bound over on charges that he allegedly downloaded child pornography and molested a five-year-old girl. He was arrested after investigators received evidence that he was accessing images of child porn over the internet. Deputies served a search warrant to his parent’s home, where he was living in the basement. They seized his smart phone and took it as evidence. He was later charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of sex abuse of a child, all second-degree felonies.

Stapley is currently out on bail. He could face up to life in prison if found guilty.

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