Child pornography gets habitual offender 40-years in federal prison

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A federal judge sentenced a child molester with 20 prior felony convictions to 40 years in federal prison Thursday afternoon.

Johnny Evans, 47, recently received a 25-year term in Hempstead County, Ark., for rape and sexual assault involving the same 10-year-old victim in the federal pornography case. When state authorities began investigating Evans for his physical misconduct with the girl they discovered sexually explicit images of her on his cell phone believed to have been taken in June 2013.

Evans appeared with Federal Public Defender Tiffany Fields for sentencing in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey. Evans pleaded guilty to two counts of child pornography production last year.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wulff told Hickey that Evans manipulated not only the young girl, but her family as well, gradually becoming a family friend deemed trustworthy enough to babysit the victim and her slightly younger brother. Wulff said that Evans’ hold on the girl was so strong that she denied he’d abused her when first confronted by detectives.

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Wulff said it was the girl’s brother, who had witnessed some of the sexual abuse of his sister, who had the “bravery to tell the truth.”

The hearing began with Fields making an impassioned plea for a minimum 15-year term for Evans. Fields cited the pedophile’s health problems and pointed out that since he’s been in custody, his left leg has been partially amputated as the result of complications from Diabetes. Fields told Hickey that Evans’ own childhood was “tumultuous” and punctuated with physical abuse and neglect. It was that rough start in life that led Evans to begin using marijuana at the age of 12 and to his bevy of convictions for theft, forgery and drug possession, Fields argued.

Wulff rebuffed Fields’ arguments for leniency.

“His excuse that a babysitter making him stand on his head and getting beat made him the man he is today is ridiculous,” Wulff said. “There is nothing to indicate that he will have to bear the cross that these children will have to bear. This is a life sentence for them.”

The victim’s grandmother struggled to speak as she addressed the court.

“He pretended to be a family friend,” the grandmother said. “He took something precious from all of us.”

The grandmother said she was asked to identify photos of her granddaughter on Evans’ cell phone. She said she was unable to identify another girl in other disturbing pictures on Evans’ phone.

Hickey told Evans he is a predator from whom society needs protection.

“Your conduct has robbed your victims of their innocence,” Hickey said. “I have to consider the impact on them and their family. This is always going to be with them and your punishment should reflect that fact.”

Hickey handed down a 480-month sentence before telling Evans that if he is ever released from prison he will be supervised by federal officials for life and must register as a sex offender. There is no parole from federal prison.

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