Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is facing new accusations regarding his relationship with anti-trafficking activist Tim Ballard. An amended complaint, filed in Salt Lake’s 3rd District Court, alleges that Reyes attempted to intimidate critics of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization closely associated with Ballard. The complaint, part of a larger lawsuit brought forward by five women accusing Ballard of sexual assault, claims that Reyes engaged in possible witness tampering, hindering an investigation conducted by the Davis County Attorney’s Office and the FBI.
Reyes’ office has strongly denied the allegations, describing them as false, defamatory, and lacking any factual basis. The Attorney General is not listed as a defendant in the civil suit.
According to court documents, when complaints of fraud and sex abuse by Ballard were received by the Attorney General’s Office, it was decided that the Davis County Attorney’s Office would handle the investigation due to Reyes’ close ties with the organization. The court documents further state that the Davis County Investigation team received tips from organizations claiming that Operation Underground Railroad was taking credit for their work and attacking them on social media for criticizing Ballard.
The amended complaint alleges that Reyes intervened in the investigation, intimidating the complainants instead of investigating the actions of Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard. Reyes’ office has refuted this claim, stating that they would not open a case already being investigated by the Davis County DA and the FBI. They also noted that no complainant has approached the Attorney General’s Office seeking further criminal investigation.
The court documents filed on Thursday assert that key witnesses withdrew their complaints due to fear of retribution, impeding the Davis County Investigation. The amended complaint alleges that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings believed Reyes was guilty of witness tampering. Rawlings, however, stated that there was insufficient evidence to charge any individual, including Attorney General Sean Reyes, with crimes in Davis County.
Central to the complaint is the accusation that Ballard sexually assaulted multiple women using the “couples ruse,” a tactic employed by Operation Underground Railroad. The lawsuit claims that Reyes participated in missions where Ballard used this ruse. Ballard is facing similar accusations in a separate civil suit filed by two married plaintiffs.