A Rexburg man, Benjamin Robert Hicks, was sharing explicit photos of underage girls, and was arrested for child exploitation earlier this month, according to court documents published Thursday.
Hicks, 22, was arrested on Oct. 17 on five counts of distribution of sexually exploitative material. All the materials involved girls under the age of 13.
In newly released court documents, a Rupert police detective, who is an affiliate investigator with the Idaho Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said he created a Kik Messenger account disguised as a 13-year-old Minidoka County girl to investigate child predators.
Hicks allegedly initiated a conversation with the detective’s fake persona under the name Aaron Johnson. The accused eventually began requesting explicit content from the girl.
Despite the repeated mentions of her age, Hicks continued to press for images and sex, even claiming that he was a student at BYU-Idaho.
Hicks later made contact with the “girl’s“ ex-boyfriend who she said had photos of her. The ex-boyfriend was another persona created by the detective.
In five separate instances, Hicks shared sexually explicit material of females under the age of 13 with the “boyfriend.”
The detective found the IP address Hicks allegedly used to send the explicit content. It had already been assigned by CyberTipline to the ICAC Task Force for uploading child pornography to Facebook.
Hicks faces charges in Minidoka County. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison, a maximum of a $50,000 fine or both.
All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.