Craig man pleads guilty to exploitation charges | SteamboatToday.com

Craig man pleads guilty to exploitation charges

Scott Schlaufman

A 29-year-old man charged with 40 felonies, including sexual exploitation of children and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, pleaded guilty to nine counts Monday in Moffat County District Court.

As part of a plea agreement with the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Stephan White pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual exploitation of children, a Class 3 felony; four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 4 felony; and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, also a Class 4 felony.

White, who is in custody at the Moffat County Jail, did not address the court Monday, other than entering his guilty plea.

Under terms of the plea agreement, the other charges, including 31 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and indecent exposure, were dropped.

Michael O'Hara, chief judge of the 14th Judicial District, set sentencing for 3:30 p.m. April 6 in district court.

Under the plea agreement, sentencing is open.

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If White is sentenced to prison, he will receive a sentence of 12 to 15 years, the deal stipulates.

O'Hara spent several minutes Monday talking with deputy district attorney Jon Pfeifer and public defender Emily Wickham to better understand the deal.

The deal acknowledges several children were victimized, but limits the potential for a consecutive sentence for White.

"We're talking, I think, seven individuals," Pfeifer told O'Hara. "So (consecutive sentences) could be a de facto life sentence."

If he is sentenced to Correctional Alternative Placement Services or probation and violates that sentence, the same 12- to 15-year limit will be applicable upon entering prison.

"I would just say to the court that if he were terminated from probation or CAPS, 15 years prison is still a lengthy sentence that he would be facing," Wickham said.

Pfeifer told O'Hara during the proceedings that the victims' ages ranged from 10 to 14 years old.

The suspect was formally charged in September 2010.

According to court records, the Craig Police Department began investigating the man in April 2010 after a report of alleged sexual abuse.

Two search warrants allegedly resulted in the confiscation of two laptops, two cell phones, 47 DVD/CDs, seven VHS tapes and a digital camera, according to records.

Thirteen of the DVD/CDs allegedly contained photos of young girls barely clothed or nude. Images were also allegedly found on one of the laptops, a cell phone and in White's bedroom.

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