A Kentucky man whose 2014 state prison sentence for sexual assault was commuted last year by former Governor Matt Bevin has been arrested on federal charges of child pornography, authorities announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, federal prosecutors in the western district of Kentucky said 24-year-old Dayton Jones is facing charges for the production of child sexual abuse material. The charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Jones had been serving the state for 15 years.
The crimes alleged on Tuesday stem from the same sexual assault in 2014. In a previous case by local prosecutors, Jones pleaded guilty to state charges, including sodomy and the distribution of material depicting the sexual performance of a minor.
Local authorities have said that Jones and several others assaulted a 15-year-old boy with a sex toy while he was unconscious at a party in Hopkinsville, in the southwest corner of Kentucky. The victim’s colon was punctured and his bladder was injured in an assault that was recorded and uploaded to Snapchat, reported NBC WAVE affiliate in Louisville.
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Bevin, a Republican, commuted Jones’ sentence in December after being pressured by Christian County Commonwealth lawyer Rick Boling, the Associated Press reported. Boling later apologized for the letter and apologized for “the embarrassment I caused this community,” according to the AP.
Bevin said he commuted Jones’ sentence because he believed there was “no” evidence linking him to the crime, except for “testimony from children who got a better deal by throwing [him] under the bus, “reported Louisville Courier-Journal.
Tuesday’s statement by US attorney Russell Coleman did not mention switching.
“This lawsuit is for one thing and one thing only, the conduct of Mr. Jones in injuring someone’s child in western Kentucky in violation of federal law,” said Coleman.
Federal prosecutors allege that Jones created the video and shared it with others on social media.
It was unclear whether Jones, who is in detention, has legal representation. A lawyer who has represented him in the past, Darren Wolff, said he was disappointed with the charges.
“It is the same set of facts,” he told NBC News. “It is an abuse of the system. “
Bevin, who lost to Democrat Andy Beshear in November, pardoned or commuted the sentences of hundreds before leaving office in December, including that of a child rapist and a convicted killer.
The pardons provoked outrage from the families of the victims and the legislators. The Leader of the Senate for Minority Minorities, Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat, said they showed “shocking lack of judgment” and “potential abuse of our justice system”.
Bevin defended commutation and forgiveness, saying America is a second chance nation.
“The countless statements and suggestions that financial or political considerations have played a role in the decision-making process are both very offensive and entirely false.” he tweeted in December.