Local News

A man whose cellphone held hundreds of images of child pornography has been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

Thomas Hunt, 37, was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County District Court.

Deputy County Attorney Angela Franz said the pre-sentence investigation completed by the probation office stated there were no “victims” of Hunt’s crime. But the images Hunt possessed included 187 children, she said. Of the children, 18 were listed as missing or exploited on a national registry.

“A crime like possession of child pornography really doesn’t have words to describe the trauma involved,” she said.

Hunt’s lawyer, Kent Florom, said he knew from years of working in the court system that these cases often result in prison sentences.

“Mr. Hunt did not graduate from high school,” Florom said. “His drug usage led him to a place he is not proud of.”

Florom said Hunt showed remorse. He did so by taking a plea deal in December — he was originally charged with 10 counts of child pornography — which saved the time and expense of a trial, Florom said. He asked that Hunt’s sentence allow him to “be released at some point” on parole, to work on his substance abuse and other struggles.

When Judge Richard Birch asked Hunt if he had anything to say before sentencing, Hunt said yes.

“I do accept the responsibility of it,” Hunt said, adding that the behavior was not like him. “I do accept whatever sentence you give me.”

Birch pointed to Hunt’s minimal criminal record and the fact that he did accept a plea deal.

“But these are extremely serious offenses,” Birch said.

He sentenced Hunt to five to 10 years in prison on each charge, to be served at the same time. He gave Hunt credit for 250 days spent in jail.

Hunt was arrested in May 2018 after two women reported to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office that Hunt had such images on his cellphone. One of the women was Hunt’s former girlfriend.

Deputies found 173 images of girls, ages 4-13, in sexualized positions including sex acts, according to information that Franz gave at Hunt’s December plea hearing.

They also found images of “slightly older females” who were dressed and made up to appear younger, according to the information.

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