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Child porn suspect could face 336 years in prison

Dean Maxwell Cook

Dean Maxwell Cook

PRESCOTT - A man accused of downloading child pornography at his workplace could face 336 years in prison if a jury convicts him and he gets the maximum sentence, a judge said Tuesday.

Prescott police arrested Dean Maxwell Cook, 51, on multiple charges of sexual exploitation of a minor on Feb. 11 after a person reported seeing pornographic images involving children on the man's desk at work, according to Lt. Tim Fletcher, Prescott Police Department spokesman.

The person told police that on Feb. 4, a sheet of paper with about six wallet-sized pictures of naked children between 4 years and 6 years of age were found on Cook's desk; then on Feb. 10, two sheets of paper with pictures of naked children and a naked adult man were seen on Cook's desk, according to the police report.

"When detectives spoke with Cook, he admitted to downloading child pornography pictures that he believed, in fact, were of real children," Fletcher said. "He was booked on six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and additional charges were filed later."

Tuesday afternoon, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Cele Hancock explained to Cook what he faced if he went to trial and lost.

"The real issue in your case is that you have been charged with 14 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor," she said. "These are in a special category called 'dangerous crimes against children,'" noting that they came with harsher penalties.

Cook could receive up to 24 years per count, she said. "In Arizona, there is a statute that requires me to run sentences consecutively. I have to find good reason to run them concurrently."

That means 336 years in prison if he was convicted and sentenced to the maximum. Even the mitigated term would be 140 years, Hancock said.

"If I were to find good reason to run them concurrently, I would still be unable to sentence you to less than 17 years," she said.

A plea offer the state is making would give him up to 20 years, followed by lifetime sex-offender probation, which requires registration and GPS monitoring.

Hancock said she could impose something less than 20 years under the agreement, "but I need more information before I make that decision."

"You have no criminal history, and this does appear to be some sort of aberration," she said.

Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore said the offer would remain open until Dec. 19 while Cook decides what to do.

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