A Salt Lake City businessman will serve as many as 15 years in prison following his conviction in August on 20 felony child pornography counts.
D. Chris Robertson, 62, was sentenced Wednesday to a term of one to 15 years of prison time for each count. Sentencing judge Terry Christiansen ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
Robertson was the owner and manager of Sabol & Rice, an HVAC equipment supplier, according to the Utah Attorney General's Office. Members of the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) seized his computers in April 2009, finding 24,477 images and 386 videos containing child pornography. Robertson's employees reported him to law enforcement because they were disturbed that he was openly viewing child pornography on his computer, according to state prosecutors.
The U.S. Attorney's Office initially filed federal charges against Robertson two years ago, and he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine. That punishment did not ICAC prosecutors, who had hoped for a stiffer sentence that included jail time, according to Assistant Attorney General Paul G. Amann.
"Though this was one of the most disturbing cases I have seen in the ten years I have been prosecution ICAC cases, justice had not been served through the federal sentencing," Amann said in a statement released after the sentence was handed down Wednesday. "The state pursued this matter to bring Robertson to justice. Judge Christiansen sent a message today that the courts of this state will severely sanction those who sexually exploit children as Robertson did."
ICAC prosecutors filed 20 counts of child exploitation charges against Robertson in March 2011. On Aug. 15, he was found guilty of all counts after a bench trial before Christiansen.