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Man pleads not guilty to 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a child

Crime Watch

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BLACKFOOT — A 21-year-old Blackfoot man is set to go to trial in July on 11 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Braden Hart pleaded not guilty last week in Bingham County District Court for a case that was filed against him in April. He is set for trial on July 26 at 9 a.m.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by the Blackfoot Police Department, officers initiated a complaint against Hart for crimes of possession of child pornography on March 24. Officers were made aware of a cellphone that contained child pornography that belonged to Hart.

Police interviewed Hart and according to documents, he told them that he had been talking to a 15-year-old boy from Egypt and he had been sending Hart videos and pictures of an underage male. Hart received multiple videos and pictures of sexually explicit material.

“Braden told me that he saved the images because he wanted to understand why (the 15-year-old) was sending pictures of underage boys to him, but then later stated that he did all of this because he wanted to cheat on his current boyfriend,” officers wrote in their report.

According to documents, Hart allegedly was talking to a 14-year-old boy too.

“Braden hasn’t sent any of the images anywhere and told me that he was worried that one of the two boys he was talking with would possibly come forward to law enforcement and that he could get into trouble,” documents said.

During the interview with officers, Hart stated he knew it was wrong and started throwing up and crying. Officers seized Hart’s phone for the investigation and took him into custody. He remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.

According to Idaho state law, each felony charge of sexual exploitation of a child is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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