A San Juan County man has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography after Facebook reviewed the photos and reported the man.
John Newton, 38, was sentenced to 12 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections during a Sept. 14 hearing in Aztec District Court, according to court records
District Court Judge Daylene Marsh presided over the case.
Newton pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of possession of visual medium of sexual exploitation of children as part of an Aug. 3 plea agreement.
A third-degree felony count of distribution of visual medium of sexual exploitation of children was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien told The Daily Times the district attorney’s office was pleased with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office investigation and prosecutor Gertrude Lee’s work.
Shane Goranson, Newton’s attorney, said giving Newton the maximum sentence won’t help him get the treatment he needs.
“John must pay for his crime but we should balance retribution and treatment so when he does come back to a community we are all truly safer,” Shane Goranson said.
Newton admitted to a previous felony conviction in Colorado as part of his plea agreement in 2013 for criminal impersonation.
O’Brien said Newton got 10 years in prison for the child pornography conviction with an additional two years for the Colorado conviction and because the child in the explicit photo was under the age of 13.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on July 20, 2019 was notified by Facebook that Newton had been using Facebook Messenger to send child pornography images, according to court documents.
The investigation led to Newton’s residence in the area of Bloomfield on County Road 5008.
Newton denied to investigators any knowledge of the illegal images and denied possessing the sexually explicit photos.
He could not explain how an image of child pornography sent via Messenger occurred on his home internet account.
A phone belonging to Newton had its contents extracted and the thumbnail of a child pornography image sent via Messenger was found.
Newton has been held without bond at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center since his Oct. 17 arrest. He gets credit for time served at the county jail.