Marco Antonio Hernandez-Maldonado

Marco Antonio Hernandez-Maldonado

An Iona man who was caught with child pornography on his phone was sentenced to 10 years probation Monday.

Marco Antonio Hernandez-Maldonado, 26, will have an underlying sentence of three-to-10 years in prison, which he will not have to serve if he follows the terms of his probation.

Hernandez-Maldonado came under investigation in October after a woman reported finding child pornography on his phone. He told police the images had come up while he was searching for car parts online, and claimed they were downloaded automatically.

Hernandez-Maldonado allowed police to search his phone, but admitted he had deleted his search history. Using forensic tools, police discovered Hernandez-Maldonado had been searching for child pornography online since 2018. He had also searched for the penalties he could face for possessing child pornography, and whether it was possible for child porn to “pop up” while online.

Among the search terms found on the phone were “teens,” “pedo” and “girls raped hard.” Hernandez-Maldonado had also repeatedly returned to a website containing images of child rape.

In messages to the witness who discovered the child porn, Hernandez-Maldonado claimed the images had appeared while online and denied he had searched for them.

“Child pornography is so serious, and it doesn’t just ‘pop up’ out of the blue,” the witness wrote in a responding message. “You really have to look for that sick stuff.”

In a second interview with police, Hernandez-Maldonado admitted he had looked up child pornography depicting sexual abuse of kids as young as 12 years old.

A second charge for destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

In addition to probation, Hernandez-Maldonado will have to serve 90 days. He will also have to serve 100 hours of community service and pay $1,545.50 in fines and fees.

Recommended for you