Man gets 29 years in prison for child pornography, molestation convictions
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Second suspect in case set for March jury trial
FARMINGTON — A Farmington man has been sentenced to 29 years in state prison after pleading guilty to manufacturing child pornography and molesting a female under the age of 13.
Juan Chavez, 33, was convicted of second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of children (recording) and criminal sexual contact (child under 13), according to a plea agreement filed on Dec. 2 in state district court.
Chavez was sentenced to 12 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections for sexual exploitation and 15 years for criminal sexual contact by Chief District Court Judge Karen Townsend, according to San Juan County District Attorney's Office Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.
"We believe it's an appropriate sentence based on the circumstances," O'Brien said. "Criminal sexual contact for someone under 13 warrants as much prison time as possible."
An extra year was added to each sentence as a prior felony conviction for trafficking a controlled substance was used.
"We respect the court's decision," Chavez's attorney Christian Hatfield said.
Chavez faced five felony charges when he was arrested, including tampering with evidence and possession of child pornography, according to The Daily Times archives.
Felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child, tampering with evidence and possession of child pornography were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Two magistrate court cases were also dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Video taken of the assault, reports say
The San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigation was launched on March 13 at a residence on County Road 5580 between Bloomfield and Farmington on reports of a young female being molested.
A man told a deputy he had been shown a video that Chavez filmed, which showed a girl being molested.
A second person charged in the case, Leosha Rivera, allegedly said Chavez took the video in order to possibly sell it to interested buyers.
She is accused of four charges for obstructing an investigation into child sexual abuse, allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography and tampering with evidence.
When investigators spoke to Chavez, he denied making any video and denied an knowledge of the video.
Chavez has been incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center since March 19. He is required to register as sex offender.
Rivera is set for a jury trial on March 4 in Aztec District Court.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.
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