A Sheridan man and former Colorado sheriff's deputy was sentenced to more than three years in prison for a child pornography crime, according to the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office and federal court records.

On Nov. 7, U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson sentenced Christopher Mark Haenel to three years five months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised probation after his release from custody, according to a news release from Wyoming Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Vassallo on Monday.

Johnson also ordered Hanel to pay a $5,000 special assessment according to the Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015; a $500 special assessment and mandatory restitution of at least $3,000 per requesting victim according to the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistant Act of 2018; and a $100 special assessment.

Haenel, 41, was indicted on May 18 on one count of distribution of child pornography from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2021, and one count of accessing with intent to view child pornography using two Apple iPhones from Aug. 8, 2020 to Feb. 16, 2022, according to the federal court docket.

The access account is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

On Aug. 17, Haenel pleaded guilty to the accessing with intent to view child pornography.

In exchange for the plea, federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss the distribution count at his sentencing.

According to the judgment, Johnson recommended Haenel be incarcerated in the federal prison in Englewood, Colorado, due to the proximity of his family and a sex offender treatment program.

Haenel will surrender at a prison on Jan. 9.

He is a retired Adams County, Colorado sheriff's deputy.

The social media platform Kik alerted law enforcement when it learned that he was sharing child pornography using its service, according to the news release from the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office.

This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation ICAC.

Assistant United States Attorney Christyne M. Martens prosecuted the case.

This case is part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The U.S. Department of Justice started the project in May 2006.

U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation Section marshal federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

The government regards child pornography as a crime of violence because it involves brutal assaults on very young children who cannot give consent to sexual activity.


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