Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

PORTALES MAN FACING MAX OF 99 YEARS FOR CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Quentin Ray, announced that on March 31, 2023, Anthony West, age 53, of Portales, was found guilty by a jury, of 9 counts of Causing or permitting a child (13-18) to engage in sexual exploitation.

On April 23, 2020, Officers with the New Mexico State Police were contacted about a possible child pornography case.  After a thorough investigation, officers discovered that Anthony West had in his possession hundreds of explicit photos and videos of himself engaging in sexual acts with a child as young as sixteen.  West had these images on multiple electronic devices found in his home.

It is believed that West had been grooming the victim since the time she was seven years of age.  Grooming is a deliberate process by which offenders gradually initiate and maintain sexual relationships with victims in secrecy and allows offenders to slowly overcome natural boundaries long before sexual abuse occurs. Law enforcement found images dating from when the child was 13 years old to well over the age of 18.  At the trial, the victim recanted an earlier statement and claimed it was not her stepfather (West) in the images.

Through an exhaustive effort, local State Police Investigator Justin Tiemann with the help of State Police Sgt Matthew Pilon with the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (NMRCFL) were able to pinpoint several images which conclusively identified West as the perpetrator. Out of over 1500 images located by investigators, the prosecution team presented over 200 obscene images showing the abuse occurring on 9 specific dates over the course of 2 years.

The Honorable Donna J. Mowrer presided over the trial. West was taken into custody and sentencing has been set for May 15, 2023. West is facing a maximum of ninety-nine (99) years in prison.  West is currently a registered sex offender for a 2004 conviction for sexual battery out of Indiana.

DA Ray would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work of the State Police Officers, Brian Scott Stover, Victim Advocate Miranda Gonzales, and the members of the Roosevelt County community who served as Jurors in this case. DA Ray, is asking for the community to keep the victim in their thoughts and prayers during this time of healing.

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