Colorado woman, 55, caught with bestiality videos of animals raping children gets JUST 6 months in jail

Julie Ann Cunningham was not just in possession of the pornographic images but she was also distributing them


                            Colorado woman, 55, caught with bestiality videos of animals raping children gets JUST 6 months in jail
Julie Ann Cunningham (Longmont Police Department)

LONGMONT, COLORADO: A Colorado woman who was caught with hundreds of photos of child sexual exploitation, including some that depicted bestiality, was sentenced to half a year in prison earlier this week. Julie Ann Cunningham, 55, came to the authorities in 2018 after they received a tip about her through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the Daily Camera. They had received messages that she had sent to a man on Facebook, one of which was an image of an underage girl posing naked.

Longmont Police subsequently executed a search warrant at Cunningham's home and seized 28 electronic devices, which were found to have nearly 150 photos that qualified as "child exploitative images." Fifty-four were images of child erotica while 17 photos depicted bestiality, some of which showed bestiality with children. Seventy-three were possible child exploitative photos, in which they could not determine the victims' ages due to the camera angle and lighting. Investigators also scanned her phone for videos and found 93 that qualified as child exploitative images and six bestiality videos. This past January, she pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child -- more than 20 items and unlawful sexual contact in exchange for prosecutors dismissing two other sexual exploitation charges. Speaking at her sentencing hearing at Boulder District Court, Cunningham's defense attorney Nicole Collins said Cunningham had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child and that the "trauma has an impact on people."

Cunningham also spoke and apologized for her behavior. "I do feel a lot of remorse for what I’ve done, and I know I’ve hurt a lot of children by distributing what I have," she told the court. "I’d like the chance to be able to move forward with more treatment, and I do want to get better." Collins asked Judge Andrew Hartman to sentence his client to work release followed by probation while Boulder Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Catrina Weigel suggested a community corrections sentence.

"She was not only downloading if for her own viewing, but she was distributing it to others," Weigel said. "Every time these images are shared it serves to revictimize (the victims.)"

She agreed that a prison sentence would not get Cunningham the treatment she needed but said a community corrections sentence that could be converted into a prison sentence if she failed to comply was the best option because it provided both treatment and security. Hartman sided with the prosecution and agreed that probation did not take into account community safety. He sentenced Cunningham to six months in jail followed by a six-year community corrections sentence. "This is the type of conduct that impacts thousands of children, maybe more than thousands of children, abroad and even here in the U.S," the judge said of the child pornography industry. "It’s people like Ms. Cunningham that support this industry."

"I hope that the defendant can take advantage and succeed in community corrections and be safely released into the community," he added. "If she fails at community corrections, then her sentence is converted into a Department of Corrections sentence."

Cunningham was remanded into custody after the hearing.

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