Christopher Frederick Genova

Christopher Frederick Genova

Craig Police Department reacts to child porn case conclusion

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Timeline…

December 2011: Christopher Genova is arrested on child pornography charges following a joint Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and FBI investigation

March: While in custody in Moffat County, Genova is arrested and charged in Fremont County with two counts of sexual assault on a child from a person in a position of trust, victim under 15, and two counts of sexual assault on a child, pattern of abuse, both Class 3 felonies.

June: Genova reaches a plea agreement with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The deal trades a guilty plea in Moffat County for a dismissal of charges in Fremont County.

August: Genova is sentenced in Moffat County District Court to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for possession of sexually exploitative material, a Class 3 felony, and possession of child pornography, a Class 4 felony. There's also a concurrent sentence of probation for 10 years to life for solicitation to commit sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony.

Quotable

“The ultimate goal is to find justice for the children who had been photographed, videotaped and violated. … I have to know that what I am doing is for a purpose and that in the end we will win, he will go away, and hopefully he won’t hurt any more children.”

— Jen Kenney, a Craig Police Department detective, about the investigation and sentencing of Christopher Genova

Tuesday marked the conclusion of one of the worst child pornography cases in Craig history when Christopher Genova was sentenced in Moffat County District Court.

Michael O’Hara, chief judge of the 14th Judicial District, handed down the sentence in accordance with a plea agreement between Genova and the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office that stipulated a maximum sentence of 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for possession of sexually exploitative material, a Class 3 felony, and possession of child pornography, a Class 4 felony.

Genova also received a concurrent sentence of probation for 10 years to life for solicitation to commit sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony.

On Wednesday, Craig Police Department officers close to the investigation discussed how heavily the case, which began in December 2011, weighed on the department.

Officers also responded to Genova’s courtroom plea for a reduced sentence.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta found Genova’s reported comments of serving an unjust sentence for a victimless crime particularly irritating considering Genova was also facing four counts of sexual assault on a child in Fremont County and a potential probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

As a result of the plea deal reached in Moffat County, the Fremont County charges and a potential FBI probe were dismissed.

“He got some huge breaks, and for him to say there was no justice in his sentence and that it was too severe is absurd,” Vanatta said. “I would absolutely, totally disagree with the statement (that Genova engaged in a victimless crime).

“If you look at the children that are being victimized to make the videos he enjoyed watching, I don’t know how anyone could seriously think there are no victims involved. To say they were not victims is also absurd.”

Vanatta said he would have preferred to see Genova receive a stiffer penalty, not simply because of the pornographic content he possessed, but the volume and methodologies he engaged in to collect and distribute the images.

“Part of the problem with the world today is people who have those propensities now have an easier market with technology to victimize more children,” he said. “I don’t feel sorry for him at all.”

The responsibility of viewing those images and videos, Vanatta said, fell to Det. Jen Kenney and Commander Bill Leonard.

Both Kenney and Leonard have children of their own.

“As police officers, it doesn’t matter what your gender is, we all see things we would rather not deal with, particularly when you are dealing with the victimization of children, but that’s part of our job,” Vanatta said. “It is very difficult for all of us to deal with because children don’t have a choice in what happens to them. Adults put them in those positions and children are innocent victims in this.”

Kenney said she was glad to see the case come to a close and was satisfied with the prison sentence. Still, she said it's cases like Genova’s that sometimes makes her feel she should raise her children in a bubble.

“It’s very disturbing because you have to categorize those images based on their content and they stick in your head,” she said. “It’s hard not to internalize that and wonder what if it had been your child.”

Every time someone views, trades or distributes child pornography, that child is being re-victimized, Kenney said. That belief motivated her to push through and see the case to conclusion.

“The ultimate goal is to find justice for the children who had been photographed, videotaped and violated,” she said. “You have to have the end goal in focus to get through interviews with the suspect and to get through looking at the images.

“I have to know that what I am doing is for a purpose and that in the end we will win, he will go away, and hopefully he won’t hurt any more children.”

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