A Logan man will spend at least 15 years in the Utah State Prison for engaging in sexual activity with a young girl, videotaping it and posting it on the web.
According to defense attorney Bryan Galloway, Zachariah J. Flores, 26, posted the images online because he hoped he would get caught so the abuse would end.
Flores pleaded guilty in June to two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both first-degree felonies. On Monday in 1st District Court, he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years and up to life on each of the two counts to which he pleaded guilty. His sentences will be served concurrently.
“I don’t know how to stop the scourge, and it is very, very concerning to me,” said 1st District Court Judge Kevin Allen. “I don’t know what to do — it just keeps happening. I guess pedophiles don’t read the paper or they just don’t care. I don’t know what it is.”
During his sentencing hearing Monday, Galloway said while his client admitted to abusing a 5-year-old girl and taking photos, he did not upload those photos or share them with others. The photos of child porn that had been uploaded were photos previously downloaded from the web.
Galloway said Flores felt remorse for his actions even before he was caught.
“He initially sought treatment on his own but did not follow through. He wishes he would have communicated more effectively to his counselors. ... He wanted to get caught, and when he posted those photos, he expected the police to come,” Galloway said. “Now, he wishes he would have just turned himself in.”
Regardless of his remorse, prosecutors say they had no choice but to seek the maximum penalty possible.
“We have a young girl who will bear what he did to her for the rest of her life,” Deputy Cache County Attorney Barbara Lachmar said. “Absolutely not ever, under any circumstances, can we tolerate this behavior. I hope that he can turn his life around, but the conduct he engaged in was so heinous and so large. ... The state has no option but to recommend two consecutive 15-to-life sentences.”
Allen credited Flores for cooperating in the case and for his remorse by ordering his sentences to be concurrent instead of consecutive.
“It doesn’t fix this poor girl’s life, but it does say something,” Allen said.
Flores was charged in January with three counts of sodomy on a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Those charges were either dropped or amended as part of a plea agreement leading to the charges to which he pleaded guilty.
In April, Lachmar said the images were discovered by an agency or individual monitoring web traffic. During the ensuing investigation, the images were traced to an IP address linked to Flores.
Court documents indicate the photos were sent some time around the end of January, and Flores was charged three days later.