Tabernash man sentenced to six years in child porn case | SkyHiNews.com

Tabernash man sentenced to six years in child porn case

Will Bublitz
wbublitz@grandcountynews.com
Grand County, Colorado

Fourteen months after his arrest, a self-confessed child pornographer has been sentenced.

During a hearing on Friday, Nov. 14, in the 14th Judicial District Court at Hot Sulphur Springs, 48-year-old Lee Frankel of Tabernash, Colorado, was sentenced by Judge Mary Hoak to six years in Community Corrections with credit for 118 days of presentence confinement. In addition, he was ordered to pay $1,616.80 in fines and court costs.

Frankel received this sentence after his conviction on a charge of “sexual exploitation of a child by the possession of materials ” 20 or more different items,” which is a Class 4 felony.

A second felony charge of “sexual exploitation of a child ” sell or publish” was dismissed earlier by the court.

Frankel entered a guilty plea to the child pornography charge on June 12 under a plea agreement worked out between his attorney and the Grand County District Attorney’s Office led by then Chief Deputy DA Elizabeth Oldham.

The guilty plea was entered just four days prior to Frankel’s scheduled trial on the two original child pornography charges. He had initially entered a “not guilty” plea on those two charges in the district court last February.

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What led to the charges against Frankel was information provided last year to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI identified Frankel through his AOL Internet addresses as the sender and the receiver of child pornography from two other suspects involved in child pornography cases.

On Sept. 5, 2007, Grand County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Frankel at his Tabernash residence. Seized under a search warrant were his two computers and 230 computer-printed images described by Sheriff’s investigators as “explicit sexual content” involving young girls.

Following his arrest, Frankel was incarcerated in the Grand County Jail at Hot Sulphur Springs and remained behind bars until he bonded out Jan. 2. He posted a $6,000 bond to be released.

About two weeks after Frankel’s arrest and incarceration in Sept. 2007, additional charges were filed against him. They were prompted by the discovery of a young girl’s panties that were found by Sheriff’s investigators among Frankel’s belongings during the Sept. 5 search of his Tabernash residence.

A subsequent investigation by the Sheriff’s Office led to charges of stalking, burglary and theft also being brought against Frankel. The Sheriff’s investigation accused him of stalking an ex-girlfriend for several months before he allegedly broke into her house to steal the underwear belonging to her young daughter.

A plea agreement on those additional charges was worked out last fall between Frankel’s public defender and the District Attorney. As a result of that plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to a charge of second degree trespassing on Dec. 18 before Judge Ben McClelland in the Grand County Court.

Also during that Dec.18 arraignment, Judge McClelland found sufficient grounds on the two child pornography charges to order the defendant’s case to be bound over to the district court for further action.

On Jan. 10, Frankel made his first appearance before Judge Hoak, who sentenced him on the second-degree trespassing charge. He was placed on one year of supervised probation, ordered to perform 48 hours of public service and ordered to pay $1,032 in fines and court costs.

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