On July 2, 2019, Sean Fulkerson was sentenced to a combined sentence of 20 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. The defendant was found to be in violation of his probation for one count of Attempted Molestation of Child, a class 3 felony and dangerous crime against children in the second degree and guilty of five counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, class 3 felonies and dangerous crimes against children in the second degree. The defendant was sentenced to the presumptive sentence of ten years for the probation violation as well as one of the Sexual Exploitation of a Child counts to run consecutive for a total of 20 years in prison. Fulkerson was also sentenced to lifetime sex offender probation to begin upon his release from prison, for the four additional counts of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Child.
After the sentencing hearing Chief Deputy Graham County Attorney L. Scott Bennett, who prosecuted the case explained: “This case involved police from multiple agencies in multiple countries. There was an outstanding investigation completed and I really appreciate the hard work of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Department of Homeland Security, the Safford Police Department and our Graham County Probation Department. I also am really grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office for agreeing to our request for jurisdiction and letting us have this one. This was a crime that was committed in Graham County and it seems right to me that the defendant should be prosecuted here. I am glad that it was not a Federal Court that decided this case, but that we were able to take care of business right here in our own Courthouse.” Bennett continued “Sexual crimes against children are horrific and I cannot praise all those involved with this investigation enough. Their diligence discovered that this garbage was being downloaded and they all put a stop to it.”
The conviction stems from a probation search of the defendant’s residence on February 6, 2019. The defendant, who was on lifetime probation for an incident which occurred in 1999, began serving his term of lifetime probation after his release from prison for another conviction involving the same incident. After the probation department was advised by the Department of Homeland Security that there may be someone at the defendant’s residence downloading child pornography, the probation department elected to conduct a search.
With the assistance of both the Safford Police Department and the Department of Home Land Security, The Graham County Adult Probation Department searched Fulkerson residence. This search included the defendant’s personal cell phone. Once analyzed, Fulkerson’s phone was found to contain multiple images which depicted underage children in various sex acts.
By agreement with the Federal Government, Bennett secured jurisdiction of the case and initiated a criminal prosecution in conjunction with the petition to revoke probation filed against Fulkerson by the probation department.
On Tuesday, in a settlement conference presided over by Graham County Superior Court Presiding Judge Michael Peterson, Chief Deputy Bennett negotiated the agreement with Fulkerson and his lawyer, Ulises Ferragut. The agreement required an admission to the probation violation, as well as guilty pleas to the five counts charged in the Direct Complaint filed by Bennett. In addition to the 20 year prison sentence, the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender and remain on sex offender probation for the remainder of his life. Should the defendant violate his probation after his release from Arizona Department of Corrections, he stands in jeopardy of serving another 60 years in prison.
Bennett stated: “These crimes are appalling and I am truly saddened that we have anyone here in our county who would commit such a crime. I am however very glad that we have great investigators who sniff the criminals out and provide the means that I can do my job and send these criminals away.”
The defendant will soon be transferred from the Graham County Jail to the Arizona Department of Corrections where he will begin serving his 20 year sentence.