Man to serve a year for possessing child porn

WINCHESTER – A Stephens City man convicted of possessing child pornography will serve 12 months in jail following a hearing on Monday.

David Anthony Donatoni, 36, appeared in Frederick County Circuit Court in August for a jury trial that lasted three days. He was initially charged with 16 counts of possessing child pornography after officials executed a federal warrant at his house in January 2014. Investigators testified that they later found the suspect images on his computer.

The jury found him guilty of seven of those counts and found him not guilty of the remaining nine counts. They recommended he serve 12 months in jail for the first offense and two months for each successive count, making for a total of 24 months in jail.

Judge Randy Bryant suspended the two-month sentences and imposed the 12-month sentence on Donatoni, effective about an hour after the case finished. He remarked on the “difficult” and “troubling” nature of the case and noted that he believed the jury attempted to be lenient in their sentencing.

Michelle LaPorte, a licensed clinical social worker who’s worked with Donatoni for about two years, testified to his long list of needed prescriptions for mental disorders and the support of his family. She said she believed he needs continued medication, treatment and therapy and that he wouldn’t be at risk to re-offend.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Enloe argued for the full 24 months of jail time, insisting that Donatoni’s crimes were not victimless and that “he knew it was wrong.” Acknowledging testimony describing his supportive family, she said that she believed they would serve his jail time if they could.

“That doesn’t make them noble, it makes them enablers,” she said.

John Flannery II, Donatoni’s defense attorney, rejected the label and said his client needed his family’s support system.

“They are loving and fighting for his survival,” he said.

Before Bryant sentenced him, Donatoni read a short prepared piece to the court.

“I’ve been dealing with mental health issues … as long as I can remember,” he began.

A five-year supervised probation period is set to follow Donatoni’s jail time, with a number of requirements like participation in a sex offender program, limited supervised internet access and sex offender registration. Bryant also ordered that Donatoni receive all his medications while in jail and receive counseling in the same vein as a work release program.

“I’m hoping, indeed I am praying that there is some justice in this sentence,” he said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com.

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