Utah photographer arrested for rape; other victims sought by sheriff’s office

OGDEN, Utah (TCD) — A photographer described as “well-known” in the Ogden area was arrested last week on sexual assault charges.

Russell “Rusty” Healey, 58, was booked into the Weber County Jail on two counts of first-degree object rape; one count of second-degree forcible sexual abuse; and one count of misdemeanor theft.

Healey, a “well-known photographer in the area,” is the owner-operator of his business who offered drawings with other businesses for people to win a photoshoot. (The Weber County Sheriff’s Office said winners still had to pay for photos.)

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office said a female reported she won a photoshoot with Healey, and was allegedly sexually assaulted by him. The victim reportedly had sought a photographic session with Healey for months; he reportedly had the female “do work for him to help pay for her photos,” the sheriff’s office said.

Healey is accused of promising the victim to take her to his studio to retrieve the photos, but he allegedly drove the female to a remote location to sexually assault her, the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriff’s investigators said a second female victim reported that last year, when she was 19, Healey allegedly sexually assaulted her in his studio during a photo session after trying to get her to take nude photos.

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office said Healey “has a history of sexual assault in the area, going back approximately 30 years.”

Investigators said other previous clients reported similar alleged victimization by Healey “through his position as a photographer.” Healey allegedly withheld photographs to try to trade sexual favors, and other times allegedly sexually assaulted victims during meetings to pick up photos, the sheriff’s office said.

“It is possible that there are many more women or men who have been victimized by Rusty Healey over his 30+ years operating as a photographer, as he used his status to manipulate and prey on his victims,” according to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.

KSTU-TV reports Healey allegedly told the victim he could pick her up on his motorcycle and take her to get the photos on Aug. 27. But instead of going to his studio, he drove to a remote area in the west desert and stopped at the gates of the Little Mountain Air Force Test Facility. The victim said she realized she was in the “middle of nowhere,” and that Healey grabbed her and started kissing and fondling her. The victim said she “froze” and that Healey had forcefully groped her all over her body. When she resisted, Healey said “Shhh! Just be a good girl,” the documents state. Healey then returned the woman to her home.

During the course of the investigation, KSTU reports, investigators talked with Healey’s wife, who told them she was “glad Rusty was caught” and that he “is a sex addict and sleeps around with multiple other women” and that several women had complained to her about Healey’s behavior during photo shoots.