Head of Heber City nonprofit booked on child sex felonies
By Geoff Liesik
HEBER CITY — Prosecutors are expected to file child sex abuse and child pornography charges this week against the co-founder of a charity aimed at helping children in developing countries.
Lon Harvey Kennard Sr. of Heber City was arrested March 17 by Wasatch County sheriff's deputies for investigation of 31 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 22 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, 15 counts of forcible sex abuse and one count of witness tampering, according to jail records.
Kennard, 68, co-founded Village of Hope in 1994 with his wife, according to the nonprofit organization's Web site and his Facebook profile. The organization has a stated purpose of providing "development programs for destitute villages focusing on water and sanitation, agriculture and nutrition, high-risk children protection, women and girl empowerment, health care, family income and economic development."
The villages served are located in Mexico, Central America, Ethiopia and the Caribbean.
Kennard's Facebook profile lists another organization, Love One Another, that he launched in 2009. It apparently focuses on social and economic issues in east Africa.
Wasatch County sheriff's chief deputy Jared Rigby said he could offer little detail about the allegations that led to Kennard's arrest. He also declined to say whether those allegations were connected to either of Kennard's organizations.
"We're still in the middle of investigating the case," Rigby said. "We're waiting for electronic information to be analyzed."
That information consists of the suspected pornographic images and videos that could form the basis for a sexual exploitation of a minor charge.
Three calls to the Wasatch County Attorney's Office seeking comment on the case were not returned Monday. An effort to reach a member of Kennard's family for comment about the arrest or about Kennard's charity work was also unsuccessful.
Kennard remains in the Wasatch County Jail. Formal charges are expected to be filed Wednesday, according to a 4th District Court clerk, which is when Kennard is slated to make his first court appearance.