Smithfield man confesses to downloading child pornography

Booking photo for Daniel F. Stapley (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A 47-year-old Smithfield man has confessed to downloading child pornography in hopes of avoiding a prison sentence. Daniel F. Stapley accepted a plea deal more than four years after being arrested.

Stapley participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference with his attorney. He pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, all amended to third-degree felonies.

Defense attorney Wayne Caldwell said in exchange for Stapley’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not ask for any prison time at sentencing. Four remaining charges were also dropped.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Griffin Hazard explained how Stapley was arrested for downloading child pornography, in December 2016. Investigators had received evidence that he was accessing images of child porn over the internet.

Cache County Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant to his parent’s home, where he was living in the basement. They seized his smart phone, which was later found to have multiple images of child pornography on it.

The case had been delayed after Caldwell argued that some of the files on Stapley’s phone were allegedly altered by detectives as they were conducting their investigation. Also, other people had access to the phone, raising questions of who had viewed the child pornography.

During Monday’s hearing, Judge Brandon Maynard accepted Stapley’s plea agreement. He scheduled sentencing for May 3, and ordered the defendant to complete a presentence report about his criminal history in the meantime.

Stapley spoke only briefly, telling the court he was “guilty”. He could face more than five years in prison, depending on whether or not Judge Maynard follows attorney’s recommendations.

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