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Attorney in child porn case sentenced to 3 years

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A local attorney was sentenced this week to three years in prison for possessing and manufacturing child pornography.

Matthew O’Neill, a former partner at the Whitener Law Firm, pleaded no contest to one count of possession of a visual medium of a child under 13 and one count of manufacturing a visual of sexual exploitation of children in March.

On Tuesday, 2nd Judicial District Judge Daniel Gallegos ordered that O’Neill turn himself in to the state Corrections Department by 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, court documents show. He was previously released on his own recognizance.

O’Neill faced up to 22 years in prison on the charges. He’ll be required to register as a sex offender upon release.

O’Neill appeared in commercials and on billboards for the firm. In January 2019, an employee from an information technology company that was hired by the firm found evidence of child pornography on O’Neill’s work computer and called authorities, a search warrant affidavit said.

Attorney General’s Office agents seized a desktop computer, thumb drives, a camera and other items from O’Neill’s office. He was charged with possessing child pornography in August 2019.

O’Neill is being sued by Whitener Law Firm for the damage his crimes caused to the firm’s reputation. In June, the state Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law in the state, court records show.

“No one should exploit and abuse children, and this case illustrates how possessing or making materials of child exploitation is not a victimless crime,” state Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. “Our office will continue to fight to protect children, and put an end to child sexual abuse and exploitation.”

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