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Woman sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography charge

SoVaNow.com / November 07, 2019
A 35-year-old Nathalie woman will serve five years in prison after being convicted Monday in Halifax County Circuit Court on one count of possession and one count of production of child pornography.

Amanda Dawn Buchanan entered pleas of no contest to both charges. With her conviction, she will be placed on the Virginia State Police registry for sex offenders and offenders against children, and she will be placed on indefinite probation supervision once she is released from prison.

Buchanan was also ordered to be of good behavior for the next 30 years, along with other terms and conditions.

The charges against Buchanan resulted from her posting a sexually explicit photo of her five year old child in a Facebook chat group. Facebook flagged the image and reported it to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Task Force then relayed the information to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator Jeff Burton completed the investigation, conducting interviews with the defendant and later executing a search warrant on her home. Police recovering several cell phones that were sent to the Office of the Attorney General for download.

The investigation revealed that the photo was posted in the context of messages of a graphic sexual nature relating to incest and pedophilia. Although the messages appeared to be fantasy, they included references to an adult performing sexual acts on the five-year-old victim, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Q. Martin.

Buchanan’s no contest pleas and five-year prison term are pursuant to a plea agreement entered into by the Commonwealth with the support of law enforcement and in consultation with the non-offending parent of the child depicted.

“The five-year prison term brings justice to the family and the community in this case,” said Martin. “As we do in each case, we weighed heavily the strength of the case, the wishes of the victim family, the recommendations of law enforcement, and defendant’s prior criminal behavior — in this case, there was none — before concluding the just outcome. In this case, five years was the right outcome.”

Judge Leslie Osborn accepted the agreement as presented to the court. An additional charge of distribution of the photo was dismissed by the court.

Additional conditions of Buchanan’s good behavior include that she notify the Department of Social Service of her release upon release, that she have no contact with unrelated minors, and that she have no unsupervised contact with related minors. She will also have to submit to a psychosexual evaluation within 90 days of release and follow any recommendations for counseling which result from the evaluation.

“The production of sexually explicit imagery of minors is a severe offense against the Commonwealth, and we will pursue it zealously,” said Martin.



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