An Oregon man who viewed pornographic videos of young girls being tortured has been sentenced to probation and 90 days in jail to be served “at his convenience,” a police report stated.
On Wednesday, Scott Johnson, 27, of St. Helens, Oregon, about 30 miles north of Portland, pled guilty to three counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree. The guilty plea represented the culmination of a two-year investigation which began when the state department of justice alerted local authorities that child pornography had been uploaded on a messaging app in the St. Helens area.
Investigators then zeroed in on Johnson as a suspect and seized his phone. A forensic investigation of the phone revealed that it contained child pornography, a police statement said. The nature of the evidence on the phone was particularly heinous. Fox News reported that it involved the “graphic sexual abuse and torture of young girls.”
When questioned, Johnson told authorities that “sometimes people will send him a message asking him if he wants to see something” and that they then sent him that material. Investigators determined that Johnson received a series of links and continued to click on all of them, even after he knew that they would direct him to child porn.
In an effort to reach a plea deal, Columbia County prosecutors offered Johnson a 60-month sentence. However, Johnson rejected that offer and decided to take his chances with the judge.
“He just rejected our offer, pleaded guilty, and asked the judge for probation over our objection,” the district attorney’s office said.
That decision worked out in his favor. According to a statement from St. Helens Police Department, “Johnson was ultimately sentenced to five years of probation and 90 days in jail to be served on weekends at his convenience.”
In Oregon, encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class B felony, a crime which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Johnson’s light sentence seems to follow a pattern of soft-on-crime policies in the state in recent years. In April 2022, when she was still governor, Kate Brown (D) granted clemency to a murderer who had previously been sentenced to life without parole, putting a violent criminal back on the streets, and Portland had more murders in 2021 than at any other time in history. Travellers Worldwide recently warned prospective visitors that theft and larceny, vandalism, auto theft, and assault are among “the city’s most prevalent crimes.”
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