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Fairlawn man pleads guilty to 15 child porn counts, 17 charges dropped

Fairlawn man pleads guilty to 15 child porn counts, 17 charges dropped

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PULASKI — A Fairlawn man avoided more than three centuries of potential prison time Tuesday in a plea agreement that dropped 17 child pornography charges – but left him convicted of 15 more counts of similar offenses.

Travis William Doerzaph, 36, still faces up to 90 years behind bars when he returns for a March 30 sentencing hearing, defense attorney Jimmy Turk of Radford said.

Tuesday’s hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, which Doerzaph attended by video from the New River Valley Regional Jail, came just over a year after his arrest. A national task force that tracks online crimes involving children detected uploads and downloads of child pornography to computers registered to Virginia Tech, and tipped New River Valley investigators who followed the trail to Doerzaph’s home in Pulaski County, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Dina Branco said.

At the time, Doerzaph was a design manager at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Branco said Doerzaph took part in online chats and also used an app that connected people who traded still images and videos of children in sexually suggestive poses. A description for his user account was “guy looking at hot things,” Branco said.

Investigators found more than 1,000 images of young girls, from infants to pre-teens, among the exchanges, Branco said. Doerzaph admitted to officers that he had watched illicit videos of girls younger than 18 and had re-sent photos to others in the chats and through an app, Branco said.

Doerzaph and Turk agreed that Branco had summarized the prosecution’s case and that the evidence was sufficient to prove Doerzaph’s guilty. Doerzaph told Judge Brad Finch that he was pleading guilty because he was guilty.

Doerzaph initially was charged with 20 counts of possessing child pornography and 20 counts of reproducing child pornography but some charges were dropped earlier in the case.

In a plea agreement, Doerzaph pleaded guilty to 14 counts of possession and one count of reproduction of child pornography. The plea agreement did not make any recommendations for sentencing.

Turk noted that without the plea agreement, Doerzaph had faced up to 475 years behind bars. With the agreement, the maximum was 90 years.

Finch said that before setting Doerzaph’s punishment in March, he wanted the probation office to prepare a pre-sentence report that will include advisory sentencing guidelines.

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