Plea deal coming for Smithfield man accused of downloading child pornography

Booking photo for Daniel F. Stapley (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A plea deal is coming for a 45-year-old Smithfield man accused of downloading child pornography. The case for Daniel F. Stapley has been going back and forth since he was arrested in 2016.

Stapley participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday morning, appearing by web conference with his attorney. He was previously charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of sex abuse of a child, all second-degree felonies.

Prosecutors explained they were having to drop one of the cases, after the alleged victim passed away. The case charged Stapley with touching a young girl while buckling her into a car seat. The assault allegedly took place in 2015, at a campsite in the High Creek area.

Stapley still faces the case of allegedly downloading child pornography after he was arrested in December 2016. Investigators claim they 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.

The case had been delayed after defense attorney Wayne Caldwell argued that files on Stapley’s phone were allegedly altered by detectives as they were conducting their investigation. Also, other people had access to Stapley’s phone, raising questions of who viewed the child pornography.

Judge Brandon Maynard allowed prosecutors to drop their second case and ordered Stapley to appear Feb. 8 for a change of plea hearing on the other charges.

Stapley is currently out of jail after posting bail. He could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

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