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Southern Utah News Front Page: September 24, 2020

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''The Happy Scientist'' booked on child pornography charges

By Dixie Brunner

Kane County resident John Robert Krampf, 64, was booked into the Washington County Jail on crimes against children, following a Dixie State College and FBI sting operation that was generated in the St. George area.

Known on YouTube as youth educator ‘The Happy Scientist,’ Krampf had allegedly shared some digital files containing pornographic images of prepubescent children with an IP address that was part of an undercover FBI investigation.

A warrant was served on Krampf’s residence and devices. Dixie State University Police Chief Blair Barfuss, who is also deputized to work with the FBI, said there was an overwhelming amount of evidence found there. He said that there were easily thousands upon thousands of files just in one external drive, and files of folders with an unknown number of images inside, all of young children. Roughly two dozen hard drives were seized.

Krampf was initially indicted in federal court on one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. At the state level, he was charged with 10 counts of child exploitation of a minor.

Law enforcement said it was disturbing to find out about Krampf’s YouTube channel. He was involved in producing ‘The Happy Scientist,’ in which he discussed science subjects aimed at school-age children, with nearly 90 youth-oriented videos available on YouTube.

Barfuss and administrative Sgt. Ron Bridge both helped the FBI on this sting operation. They have arrested people in a dozen cases and are reviewing charges on more. They handle these kind of cases for the FBI in the southern Utah area.

Barfuss said they will be investigating whether Krampf had any in-person contact with local children. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI.

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