A Virginia man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for downloading child pornography claimed it was part of QAnon-inspired research into sex trafficking, prosecutors said.
Richard Dalton Simpson, 53, of Pulaski, pleaded guilty in June to 15 counts of possessing child pornography, according to Pulaski County online court records. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday, with another 60 years in jail that was suspended but could be reimposed if he violates probation when he is released, according to The Roanoke Times.
Justin Griffith, Pulaski County attorney, called Simpson “an immoral deviant” who was “infested with a perversion.” He added that the length of the sentence was driven by factors that included the “uniquely graphic” nature of the videos that Simpson downloaded.
Simpson was arrested on Jan. 6, 2022, court records show.
Sampson’s attorney, Dave Rhodes of Christianburg, said Thursday that his client and some of his relatives became “caught up” in QAnon and decided to search online for links between public figures and child sex, the Times reported.
Simpson did not find any links to public figures but he did find child pornography, Rhodes added.
Simpson originally claimed that his cellphone had been hacked, according to the newspaper. However, he later admitted that he knew when the videos arrived and did not remove them.
“When a 55-year-old man is in possession of child pornography, he is infested with a perversion that is not acceptable in our community and God willing, nowhere,” Griffith said in a statement on Wednesday. “Justice can have many faces and today, that face is the eradication of freedom of a man who walked amongst us. He blended with us as a member of this community, but was in reality, an immoral deviant who deserved the punishment that was doled out.”
On Thursday, Griffith said that his statement was about Simpson’s involvement with child pornography, and not whatever QAnon-linked beliefs he may have held, the Times reported.
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