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Man convicted of possessing child pornography sentenced

Man convicted of possessing child pornography sentenced

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(KSL News) The man who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography will spend 276 months in federal prison.

Earlier this summer, Russell Eugene Blessman pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography.

Blessman was arrested in Heber City last October. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted on sexual abuse charges out of Iowa, as well as federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to prison. He must also serve a lifetime of supervised release when he gets out of prison.

U.S. Attorney Brett L. Tolman and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who coordinate the prosecution of cases developed by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, say the 276 month sentence would not have been obtained without the joint cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies. According to Tolman and Shurtleff, this is a classic example of the power of working together.

"This sentence is monumental. Blessman will be in prison into his 70s. This case sends a strong message to stay far, far away from child pornography. Locking Blessman up for 276 months goes a long way toward protecting children, one of my top priorities," Tolman said.

"Mr. Blessman ran but he could not hide from the terrible crimes he committed. Child pornography is physical evidence of a child being abused. It is fitting that this defendant will be locked away for a long time to finally stop him harming children," Shurtleff said.

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