MONTGOMERY COUNTY -

A judge has allowed an admitted child porn collector to avoid prison time and potentially keep the conviction off his record, in a move that surprised prosecutors.

“This suspect had some of the worst child porn images we’ve seen,” Montgomery County prosecutor Warren Diepraam told Local 2 Investigative reporter Jace Larson.

Joshua Michael Long, 25, admitted to investigators after his arrest that he collected more than 300 images and videos of child porn.

“They were children as young as three years old. In some of the videos a child was crying as they were being sexually assaulted by an adult,” Diepraam said. “When you have young children that age who are crying as horrible things are being done to them, it just breaks your heart. It really makes you mad.”

Long pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of child pornography, a class three felony.

Prosecutors asked that a judge sentence Long to prison time.

His defense attorney, Jarrod Walker, asked for probation citing Long’s lack of criminal history, age and the fact he had been following the rules for nearly a year since his arrest.

In a move that prosecutors didn’t expect, Judge Kelly Case gave Long a sentence that required him to be closely monitored for 10 years, but does not require a conviction on Long’s record if he follows the law and does not get into legal trouble for the next 10 years.

“If he’s successful, he doesn’t have to tell anybody that he was convicted of child pornography,” Diepraam said.

He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

TONIGHT AT 10, HEAR HIS CONFESSION & LEARN WHAT ALLOWS A JUDGE TO DO THIS?

Long’s defense attorney says he was not surprised by the sentence.

“When a person is on probation or deferred adjudication, they are watched. This isn’t, ‘Go home and behave yourself.’ It means showing up. It means registering as a sex offender. It means counseling,” Walker said.

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