Morenci man caught with child porn sentenced to 10 years

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Greenlee County Attorney's Office: Maxwell Lockhart was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession child pornography.

Man said regular pornography addiction led him to child porn

By Jon Johnson

jon@gilavalleycentral.net

CLIFTON – A Morenci man who said depression, self-medication, and a lacking love life led him to become addicted to pornography will have a decade to consider his actions after officers located various images of child pornography in his possession. 

Maxwell Lockhart, 21, was sentenced Aug. 4 to 10 years in prison on a single count of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class-2 Felony. It is the minimum sentence for his offense, which carries a sentencing term of 10 to 24 years. He will have to serve his time day for day and will not be eligible for early release. 

He was also given lifetime sexual offender probation on two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, Class-3 felonies. Apache County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Allan Perkins served as the sentencing judge due to Greenlee County Superior Court Judge Monica Stauffer having been recused from the case. Perkins previously served as the chief deputy county attorney for Graham County and was the Apache County Attorney prior to becoming a judge.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children tipped the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office about Lockhart’s alleged crimes.

Lockhart was apprehended during a search warrant Feb. 8 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from Google that a person had uploaded two videos on an email depicting sexually explicit conduct involving two prepubescent children on Nov. 28, 2016. A Greenlee Sheriff’s detective retrieved the tip from the NCMEC and a search warrant was granted for Lockhart’s residence.

During the execution of the warrant, Lockhart was taken into custody and admitted to possessing the child pornography. He said tried to email videos he found on his Tumblr app to himself because he was having difficulty downloading them and knew he was in trouble because Google shut down his account shortly after the emails were sent.

A search of his electronic equipment yielded a large amount of regular pornography with four pictures and three videos showing child pornography and five animated videos depicting sexually exploited children.

Lockhart accepted a plea agreement June 16 and pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor in exchange for the prosecution dismissing four other counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Each count of sexual exploitation of a minor carries a minimum sentence of 10 years up to a possible 24 years of incarceration. Sentencing was left up to the judge, who followed the recommendation in the presentence report and gave Lockhart the minimum of 10 years. Mitigating factors for the minimum sentence recommendation included the defendant’s culpability, remorse, young age and his ability to appreciate the wrongness of his actions.

Maxwell Lockhart was sentenced in Greenlee County Superior Court by Apache County Superior Court Pro Tem C. Allan Perkins.

According to Lockhart, his addiction to regular pornography led him down a slippery slope and he fell into the trappings of child pornography after a late night while self-medicating with an over-the-counter sleep aid.

After initially being “shocked and appalled” at child pornography blogs he stumbled onto on his Tumblr app, he said the same blogs kept getting recommended to him because he had opened one once and he finally began viewing the blogs that showed minors in various sexual scenarios.

“I hated myself for what I had done, for what I saw, and yet I couldn’t stop,” Lockhart told an officer. “I saw things I wish I had never seen.”

Maxwell Lockhart

“I accept that I will spend time in prison followed by lifetime probation. I did the crime, I accept the time. I’m not proud and I will not try to justify what I did. There are no illusions that I’m not the bad guy, not the scum of the Earth, not the pervert. I have a lot of years in prison to make peace with that.”

Lockhart was represented by attorney Jeremy Waite, who was appointed to his case, and the state was represented by Greenlee County Attorney Jeremy Ford, who warned about the dangers of pornography.

“In the presentence report and at the sentencing hearing, the defendant made it clear that his illegal conduct was caused by an unchecked addiction to pornography, which began in his teen years and eventually led to the egregious behavior for which he pled guilty,” Ford said. “The defendant agreed that there was no excuse for his conduct. However, it was impossible to sit through the sentencing hearing in this case and not recognize the inherent danger of pornography to the young people of our community. I would strongly advise parents to not allow their children to access or view pornographic materials.”

Lockhart was given credit for 177 days served in the Greenlee County Jail and will be transported to an Arizona State Prison to serve the rest of his 10-year sentence.

  

   

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