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Man gets jail time and probation for viewing child pornography

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A judge sent an Iona man to jail after he was caught viewing child pornography on his phone.

Marco Antonio Hernandez-Maldonado, 26, was sentenced Monday to spend 53 days in jail followed by 10 years of probation. District Judge Dane H. Watkins also suspended an underlying three to 10-year prison sentence, which Hernandez-Maldonado could be ordered to serve if he is not successful on probation.

Court records show that as part of a plea agreement made with Bonneville County prosecutors, Hernandez-Maldonado pleaded guilty to felony possessing or viewing felony child pornography in exchange for prosecutors dropping a felony destruction of evidence charge. The plea agreement also stipulated attorneys would recommend Hernandez-Maldonado be placed on probation.

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Hernandez-Maldonado after a woman discovered his search history and contacted authorities. Hernandez-Maldonado eventually showed up at the Bonneville County Courthouse and told investigators that while surfing the internet for car parts, he received an “FBI warning box” on his phone stating there is pornography on it. Hernandez-Maldonado denied searching for the sexually exploitive images and he gave his phone to deputies.

RELATED | Man arrested after woman allegedly discovers he was searching for child pornography on phone

A review of Hernandez-Maldonado’s phone showed multiple searches on the phone, including “what charges will I face for accidentally accessing child pornographic content on the internet?” Also, someone recently deleted the web search history. However, detectives still uncovered searches for terms like “pedo” and “raped.”

Investigators brought Hernandez-Maldonado back in to confront him about what they found. Hernandez-Maldonado called himself not “tech-savvy” and continued to deny viewing child pornography. Eventually, Hernandez-Maldonado said he saw images of teenage girls but thought they were cartoons. When investigators tried to get specifics, detectives wrote in the probable cause that Hernandez-Maldonado avoided the questions.

“Marco said he has been trying to get rid of this habit or fetish for a while now,” the detective wrote in his report.

In addition to the time on probation, Watkins ordered Hernandez-Maldonado to complete 100 hours of community service and pay $1,545.50 in fees and fines. Hernandez-Maldonado also got credit for the 37 days he already spent behind bars.