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Tue, Aug. 20

Cornville man sentenced to 30 years in online child sex case

Troy Lee Curtis

Troy Lee Curtis

CAMP VERDE - A Cornville man arrested after an online child pornography investigation that spanned several years has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Troy Lee Curtis, 48, was arrested in September 2012 and charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of failure to register as a sex offender. That came after Sheriff's deputies and federal agents, working together over the course of several years, developed information that led to his arrest.

Homeland Security agents in Flagstaff and Los Angeles became aware of a website chat room in 2009 that they believed was being used to distribute child pornography, said YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn, and investigators in Los Angeles linked 56 images posted there to an account belonging to Curtis.

In August 2010, U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security agents, along with YCSO, served a search warrant at Curtis' home. They seized a computer and assorted data storage devices, D'Evelyn said, along with evidence that connected Curtis to use of the computer. Investigators found several hundred child porn images and at least 13 similar video files in the material they seized, D'Evelyn said, and officials at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found nearly 90 images and several video files showing known child victims.

D'Evelyn said the two-year gap between the search and the arrest was because the federal agents "continued their investigation to build a case and confirm the images were illegal." Because it was not obvious that some of the images portrayed minors, they had to be examined by certified experts.

Curtis took a plea agreement in which he admitted guilt to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and the failure to register charge.

Superior Court Judge Michael Bluff sentenced him to three consecutive 10-year terms in prison and lifetime probation afterward. The prison sentence is flat time, meaning Curtis is not eligible for early release under any condition.

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