A former Pueblo County deputy accused of leaving a thumb drive containing almost 7,000 pornographic images of children connected to a work computer will be sentenced Friday.
Raymond Gonzales plead guilty in June to the crime of sexual exploitation of a child, a class 6 felony.
Court documents say that a sergeant working at the detention facility found the thumb drive on October 5 of last year, and while looking through it to see who it belonged to, found pictures that the Sheriff's Office called alarming.
When Gonzales was confronted, he reportedly claimed that the photos were part of a side business, in which he researches celebrities who claim no nude photos of themselves exists, and sells the images if he finds them. But a detective recognized some of the images from past sexual exploitation of children cases, according to the arrest affidavit.
After that discovery, the arrest affidavit says Gonzales excused the images as having been inadvertently copied onto his drive while he transferred pictures from a vacation from an old computer. He said he later noticed not all the photos were from his vacation, but forgot to delete them. This came during an interview on October 17.
A note in the affidavit says that the detective didn’t find any photos from the vacation, and found that only the files from the vacation had been deleted.
Gonzales claimed the only files he accessed from the drive were his work reports, school work, time sheets and a head count. According to the court documents, he also said that he should have deleted the images a long time ago.
When told that some of the images were found on a hard drive owned by the Sheriff’s Office, Gonzales reportedly said that he was shocked. According to the affidavit, he said he would never do that.
According to the affidavit, Gonzales also said during this interview that he’d downloaded these photos from his computer about four years ago. At that time, he said, he didn’t know they were illegal or questionable. Gonzales also reportedly said that after taking a class about computer crime, he’d stopped looking for pornography.
Then, on October 21, detectives met with Gonzales for a second interview. This time, the affidavit says, Gonazles explained that he’d reviewed and reread the statute and admitted it does apply to the pictures on his drive.
“As much as I hate to admit it and it disgusts me to admit it, but year, apparently it does fall under the statute,” he said. “It was wrong and against the law. I have no defense. It’s there in black and white.”
11 News will let you know as soon as his sentence is determined.