A wild QAnon conspiracy theory that has followers convinced progressives rape and eat kids has bubbled into a small county in Utah.
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, who is running for re-election, is calling for the immediate removal of the county sheriff, Mike Smith, over a bizarre report implicating Leavitt in a “ritualistic” sex ring known for “cannibalizing young children.”
The 151-page report, which was released by the sheriff Wednesday among law enforcement but has not been made public, is said to name Leavitt and his wife as integral figures in the trumped up conspiracy. The report claims the abuse took place between 1990 and 2010 and was carried out in three Utah counties.
In announcing the investigation into “ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking” on Tuesday, the sheriff called on any potential victims who may have survived to come forward, but he said he did not directly name Leavitt. He said he has no plans to resign and refused to apologize for using his budget to fund the questionable investigation into a political foe. Instead, he blamed the county attorney for abuse of power.
“I believe that Leavitt is using his authority and his pulpit to bully, distract and mischaracterize the facts of an ongoing investigation,” Smith told reporters Wednesday. When asked about Leavitt’s alleged involvement, he said, “We don’t talk about who is under investigation.”
Smith told reporters no one was personally named in the report, but Leavitt said, in fact, he and his wife were named on purpose just a week before ballots are sent out.
“I am calling upon Sheriff Mike Smith to open his office to an outside investigation, where outside, independent investigators are able to investigate and confirm or deny that documents from a debunked investigation from more than a decade ago were or were not used for political purposes in a Utah County Attorney’s race,” Leavitt said in a statement. “The allegation that I am asserting is that the sheriff’s office is using its position for political gain and accusing them of abusing and cannibalizing and murdering children. And no, I will not step aside.”
The two officials have never met eye to eye since Smith endorsed a more like-minded conservative in the county attorney race. He maintains the timing of the report has nothing to do with revenge.
“This is not political,” he said. “This is something we take very, very seriously. This is some of the most egregious crimes that happen in our community, when our children are victimized at this level.”
Smith also played down the mention of cannibalism in his investigation, which Leavitt insists is part of the report. The sheriff says the main focus is sex abuse, not the consumption of children.