Predator sentenced to 30 years for child porn

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A man who prosecutors describe as a “serial, hands-on offender against minors” was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Wednesday for receiving child pornography.

Nathan Karl Thomas, 25, pleaded guilty March 31, 2016, to two counts of receipt of child pornography. Witnesses who testified at Thomas’ sentencing hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey described Thomas’ abuse of two teen girls which included bondage, sodomy, sexual and physical assaults and psychological manipulation.

Thomas convinced the girls to send him pornographic images of themselves and encouraged them to view child pornography. Thomas taught one of the victims how to find and share child pornography on the internet and told her it was something he wanted them to share. Witnesses testified that Thomas expressed incest fantasies and had an “insatiable appetite” for child pornography.

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Haidy Branson, 26, who is currently serving a sentence of 21 years and 10 months for producing child pornography, testified that she and Thomas realized in high school that they shared an interest in child pornography and incest while dating in high school in New Boston, Texas. Branson shared a video of herself molesting a 2- or 3-year-old male relative with Thomas.

“Society cannot tolerate this conduct,” argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wulff, who prosecuted Thomas along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner. “He normalized child pornography to his victims and if they didn’t like it, he withheld his affection.”

Wulff reminded Hickey of one victim’s account of receiving an image of a young girl being raped. When the victim told Thomas the image made her want to cry, Thomas threatened to punish her.

“He wanted them to like it,” Wulff argued.

The father of a victim who was abused at 15 by Thomas testified that he can’t put a price on the damage his daughter and family have suffered.

“How do you estimate such a thing,” the father asked. “When the devil enters your home and lays the foundation of deceit, physical abuse, and corruption, what’s the cost to drive evil away?”

The father asked Hickey to sentence Thomas to a term “befitting the life-long sentence he has bestowed upon my daughter and my family.”

The mother of a victim who was abused by Thomas at age 14 prepared a statement which was read into the record Wednesday by Jenner. The statement expressed the opinion that people like Thomas, who prey on innocent children, cannot be rehabilitated.

Each of the two counts to which Thomas pleaded guilty in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas is punishable by five to 20 years in prison. Hickey sentenced Thomas to 15 years on each count and ordered the terms to run consecutively for a total of 30 years.

Hickey ordered that Thomas be supervised by federal officials for 10 years upon release from prison. If he violates the conditions of his release, Thomas could be ordered to serve additional time. Thomas must also register as a sex offender.

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