Former U.S. Marine going to prison for downloading child pornography - East Idaho News
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Former U.S. Marine going to prison for downloading child pornography

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John Jr. Demaria IV during his sentencing on Monday. | Kaitlyn Hart,

IDAHO FALLS — A former U.S. Marine was given prison time on Monday after pleading guilty to downloading child pornography.

District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. sentenced John Jr. Demaria IV, 45, to a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Demaria was sentenced for two counts of willfully possessing child sexually exploitative material.

For count one, he was given a minimum of two years with a maximum of ten years in prison. For count two, he was given no minimum and a maximum of five years in prison. Both sentences will run consecutively. He will also have to register as a sex offender and pay $3,491 in court fines and fees.

Demaria initially pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts of willfully possessing child sexually exploitative material but signed a plea agreement in April, where he agreed to plead guilty to two counts in exchange for the prosecution dropping the remaining counts and recommending a minimum of three years and a maximum of 10 years in prison at sentencing.


During the sentencing, Demaria’s defense attorney, Jason Gustaves, called Jerilyn Taylor as a witness. Taylor is an addiction and substance abuse counselor who has been working with Demaria on his pornography addiction.

Taylor said Demaria is engaging with the treatment program even after telling her that he “didn’t think therapy would help.”

“The last time he was in the group, people felt heartfelt connected to him. They would’ve filled the courtroom if he would’ve allowed it,” said Taylor. “He is very supportive. He’ll help someone there who doesn’t have a ride, things like that.”

RELATED | Man charged with having child porn says he went down a ‘rabbit hole’

Taylor then recommended to the court that Demaria be allowed to seek trauma counseling.

A deputy attorney general for the State of Idaho, Madison Allen, then argued for her recommendation, skewing from the plea agreement for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Allen said Demaria had a “rough upbringing as a child,” dealing with physical abuse and the lack of a parental figure.

“It’s apparent that Mr. Demaria did not have a real significant, supportive parental figure, at least in his childhood,” said Allen. “There are several letters of support written in the PSI (pre-sentence investigation). I didn’t count how many there were, but I would guess around 10 or 12 if I had to estimate.”

Despite these mitigating factors, Allen says Demaria is unlikley to be completely rehabilitated as he “shifted the blame” to other things rather than himself as the reason for his addiction.

“There wasn’t a lot of accountability taken. The defendant was blaming this offense on things other than himself,” said Allen. “Things such as his father was to blame for his childhood, then it moved into the Marine Corps, and the Marine Corps became the reason he was engaging in this conduct. After the Marine Corps, it was metal poisoning and health issues.”

Gustaves then gave his recommendation following the plea agreement, but asked Watkins to consider probation or a retained jurisdiction, sayingt Demaria is doing well in his treatment groups and was abused as a child.

“Explanation for why we get to a point is not attempting to excuse it,” said Gustaves. “He is here taking responsibility, he accepted the plea agreement, he pled guilty, he knows why he is here. He is not disagreeing with that, and he is not saying that he does not need help. He recognizes that.”

Gustaves told the court that his client’s rehabilitation from pornography would not be as visible as it would be if Demaria were battling a drug or alcohol addiction.

“He’s not a person who has a problem with drug addiction. He’s not a person who has an alcohol addiction. He’s got a porn addiction, which is as insidious as any of the others,” said Gustaves. “Were we dealing with a person who had a drug or alcohol treatment problem, they could’ve been in treatment for the past year and come before the court looking sober and clean and saying that ‘I can abstain from substances,’ and the court could accept that. And they could look clean and healthy like Mr. Demaria looks right now.”

Demaria then spoke to the court, apologizing for the hurt he has caused the victims and his family.

“Your honor, I wish to apologize to you and especially the community, to have to stand here before you. I do take responsibility. I’ve had a lot of things in my life spiral out of control,” said Demaria. “I developed a lot of co-dependencies that were unhealthy where a lot of people would not understand that. No different than with alcoholics or with individuals who use drugs. Porn became my drug.”

He continued, saying he struggled with mental health to the point where he was about to take his own life right before his arrest.

“If I wouldn’t have been arrested, I was pretty close to ending it. I’m actually very thankful,” said Demaria. “So far, I’m thankful for my counselor, and it brought me closer back to my family. I’m not a monster, your honor. I’m a guy that had problems, and I didn’t handle them correctly.”

Demaria says he reached out to the Veterans Affairs office multiple times seeking mental healthcare but says he was never provided any resources to help.

“I had reached out a few times. Unfortunately, the VA (Veterans Affairs), has dropped the ball quite a few times. And this isn’t me shifting the blame, I have tried to reach out for help in many different instances and it wasn’t there,” said Demaria. “So I always reverted back to what I knew and what would help me make it to the next day. I know it wasn’t right, and I do understand that I have victims.”

Watkins then explained his ruling before pronouncing sentence, saying he took into account the many letters of support for Demaria and his family’s attendance in court.

“I watched very carefully (Demaria’s family members) reactions to your statements, and I think they were meaningful to them. Because of your actions, your harmed others. You harmed them,” said Watkins. “But I am happy that they are here to stand by your side. Everyone needs that kind of support in their life, particularly as you confront these demons that have possessed you for some time.”

He concluded by saying that Demaria’s porn addiction is hurtful to much more than just his own life.

“You acknowledge this addiction that there is a pornography addiction, and even (Gustaves) uses the word ‘insidious,’ and it is,” said Watkins. “It is detrimental to you individually, the way you view the world, the way you interact with others in the community, and it disrupts so many things in your life.”


On March 6, 2023, a Bonneville County Sheriff’s detective investigated a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip stated an individual, later identified as Demaria, uploaded an image of child porn to his personal cloud account.

After investigating, the detective found multiple child sexual abuse material were uploaded showing girls as young as 5 years old. The detective sent a search warrant for the account and found 76 images of child sexual abuse material found on Demaria’s account.

On May 18, 2023, investigators executed a search warrant at Demaria’s home in Ammon. He was detained and taken to the sheriff’s office for an interview.

Demaria admitted to having gone down a “rabbit hole” on the internet while he was “link surfing,” court documents say.

Demaria told detectives he used social media to find links to porn and kept images hidden in an app on his phone. He then decided to stop talking to detectives and requested an attorney.

During the search of his home, detectives found 15 more child pornography images in the app where he kept images hidden, a folder called “Ultra.”

While searching Demaria’s phone, they also found hundreds more images and videos of young girls ranging from 10 to 11 years old.

Demaria was then arrested and taken to the Bonneville County Jail, where he was given a $100,000 bail.