Salt Lake City School Board member arrested in child porn case

WEST JORDAN — A member of the Salt Lake City School District’s Board of Education has been arrested and accused of possessing child pornography.

Joel-Lehi Organista, 29, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday for investigation of eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

By Thursday afternoon, several hours after first hearing the news, Salt Lake City School Board President Melissa Ford and Vice President Nate Salazar sent a formal letter to Organista asking for his immediate resignation.

“We condemn the crime of which Mr. Organista has been accused,” Ford said reading a brief prepared statement while sitting next to other board members and the district superintendent. “He has been asked to resign effective immediately.”

Organista will not be allowed on any Salt Lake school district property or attend any school sponsored events, she said.

Although the district acknowledged that Organista is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court, they also noted that he appears to have admitted to some of the allegations in police documents. And what he has allegedly admitted to is “100% indefensible,” Ford said.