Skip to Content

Utah dentist pleads guilty in child pornography case

OGDEN — A Weber County dentist accused of downloading child pornography has admitted to trying to sexually exploit a minor.

Daniel Patrick Alston, 72, pleaded guilty in Ogden's 2nd District Court last week to reduced charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, court documents show. He admitted to trying to view, possess or distribute child pornography on or near Feb. 16.

Alston, of South Ogden, was criminally charged in February after the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, part of the Utah Attorney General's Office, found pornographic images of young girls on his home computer, court documents show.

Alston told them he had downloaded the images due to curiosity and the "'forbidden' nature of the material," charges state.

He pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which were reduced from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony. Five other counts were dismissed in exchange for the guilty pleas.

As a dentist, investigators said Alston had access to children on a regular basis. They suggested in court documents he may have accessed one of the pornographic images at a dental office.

Alston has an active license in Utah, online records maintained by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing show. He agreed shortly after he was charged not to practice as a dentist until the charges are resolved, according to agency's disciplinary documents.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend home confinement for Alston, court documents show, instead of a potential prison sentence of up to five years.

Sentencing is Feb. 7.