Felon Pardoned By Kentucky’s Ex-Governor Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R).Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

JakeThomas

Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned hundreds of people before leaving office last year, including violent sex offenders.

One of the violent offenders pardoned by former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) after a sodomy conviction now faces a federal child pornography charge, according to The Courier Journal.

Dayton Jones, 25, was one of a plethora of convicted felons who Bevin pardoned in the last hours of his governorship last year — a move that drew intense criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Jones pleaded guilty in 2014 “to sodomizing a 15-year-old passed out drunk with a sex toy,” the outlet reported, along with “wanton endangerment and distribution of material depicting the sexual performance of a minor.”

He now faces a federal charge for the video he allegedly made at the time of the attack.

“This prosecution is about one thing and one thing only, Mr. Jones’ conduct in harming someone’s child in the Western District of Kentucky in violation of federal law,” U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said Tuesday. “It serves as a reminder that despite these uncertain times, Kentucky families are well-served by some inspiring federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals that put themselves at risk to protect our kids."

In explaining his decision to pardon Jones last year, Bevin said the 25-year-old had been implicated by other defendants in the case as present during the attack but that there was no corroborating evidence.

“It was not possible he could have been there doing this,” Bevin said, according to The New York Times. “There was no evidence showing that he was.”

However, special prosecutor Jon Heck, who was involved with the case but never contacted by the governor, told The Times it was untrue that no evidence existed.

“Independent witnesses told the police that Mr. Jones had assaulted the boy, Mr. Heck said, and prosecutors had obtained texts from Mr. Jones in which he acknowledged being part of the assault,” the newspaper reported Heck as saying.

Several of Bevin’s pardons caused public outrage, including his pardon of another felon — 41-year-old Micah Schoettle — who was convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old little girl to whom he was closely related.

Bevin cited a lack of physical evidence and a “sloppy” investigation as his reason for issuing the pardon. Further inflaming the controversy, he said “there was no evidence that the girl had been raped, in part because her hymen was intact — a factor most experts say cannot be considered as proof that a sexual assault did not occur,” The Times reported.

In all, Bevin granted clemency to more than 600 people as he left office last year.

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