Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 9, 2012
Stansbury man charged with manipulating child porn images

A Stansbury Park man has pleaded guilty to having a stash of child pornography on his home and work computers.

The 60-year-old man, whom the Transcript-Bulletin is not naming in an effort to protect the identity of the victim, was charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, in May, and was scheduled to have a jury trial next week. Per a plea agreement, the man pleaded to half of those charges and the other half were dismissed. The trial has been canceled.

An investigation began in September 2010 when the man’s work area at Northrup Grumman in Sunnyvale, Calif., was audited. The man, who frequently traveled between Utah and California for work, had been notified of the search in advance and had cleaned the workspace several days before.

Personnel conducting the search found in filing cabinets in the man’s work area video tapes and CDs of pornography, which prompted the team to do a more thorough search of that cubicle and a more secure workspace where the man conducted classified work. That search found thousands of images of child pornography on CDs, DVDs and the computer’s hard drive, including digitally altered images where a woman’s face had been replaced by that of the man’s stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, who is now an adult, was between 10 and 13 at the time the photos were taken.

The security manager at Northrup Grumman told investigators from the Salt Lake office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations that the man had three more company computers at his Stansbury Park residence, according to a charging document from the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

FBI agents interviewed the man’s stepdaughter and were told there had never been any inappropriate contact between the man and the girl. The stepdaughter identified the face on some pictures provided by the agents — which had been cropped so to not be explicit — as her as a preteen. She said her mother and stepfather had often argued about his possession and viewing of child pornography.

At the man’s home, agents asked the man about the images found on the computer, and whether there were more on any other computers. The man said he had been aware of his sexual attraction to girls between the ages of 10 to 13 for approximately the last eight years, and had been viewing and downloading images of young girls clothed in short skirts or bikinis, and digitally replacing the heads of young girls from non-sexual pictures onto images of adult pornography. The man showed the investigators where he kept more computers, disks and drives, which were seized as evidence.

Charges were filed once the investigation was complete.

Assistant Utah Attorney General Paul Amann said while the investigation gleaned substantial evidence to charge the man with thousands of counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, the prosecuting office generally limits charging defendants with 10 counts so if the case goes to trial the jury is not overwhelmed by a flood of child pornography.

“It helps expedite the process, but there are other reasons too,” Amann said. “There are cases where you could charge 100 counts, but if you go to trial you have to show evidence of those 100 counts to the jury.”

Additionally, Amann said, since the crime is not a first-degree felony, total prison time is limited to 30 years in prison, so having more counts of the crime would not result in more time behind bars.

Sentencing for the man has been set for April 24.

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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