Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Plankinton rape suspect faces more charges after alleged discovery of child pornography

PLANKINTON — Thirty-seven additional charges have been filed against a man who police say raped two juvenile girls after child pornography was allegedly discovered on his computer.

Christian Thomas, 43, of Plankinton, was charged with 26 criminal charges related to sexual abuse of two young girls, plus 11 alternate counts, after prosecutors filed a new indictment on Feb. 9.

The new indictment more than doubles the number of charges filed against Thomas, and it includes two new charges of possession of child pornography, which Aurora County State's Attorney John Steele said was discovered after a forensic review of Thomas' computer.

It also added the alternate counts, which give jurors a second option to consider during a trial, and clarifies dates, Steele said.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and a seven-day trial was scheduled for early May. The trial has been postponed several times since Thomas was first arrested in May 2015, but nearly two years later, Steele expects to go to trial.

"We're all busy preparing for trial at this point. Mr. Thomas appears to have no interest in a plea negotiation, so we're going forward with trial," Steele said.

Steele was initially charged eight felonies related to sexual acts with a 12- to 13-year-old girl. The newest indictment addresses seven additional incidents with a second minor victim, who was between the ages of 14 and 16 when the incidents are said to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2012 and Aug. 30, 2014, but Steele said those were included in another indictment filed about a year ago.

Thomas also faces charges related to the involvement of his wife, Elizabeth Thomas, in sexual acts with one of the girls. On Dec. 19, Elizabeth Thomas, 37, of Plankinton, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for her involvement in a group sex act, court documents state.

Christian Thomas is now charged with seven counts of fourth-degree rape, three counts of aiding or abetting fourth-degree rape, eight counts of sexual contact with a child under 16 and one count of aiding or abetting sexual contact of a child under 16, all Class 3 felonies, each punishable upon conviction by up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Thomas is also charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 4 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; and five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class 6 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

In the alternative, Thomas is charged with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which means he could be convicted of up to 26 felonies and face a maximum penalty upon conviction of 315 years in prison and up to a $630,000 fine.

Both alleged victims testified before the grand jury that indicted Thomas. So did Larry Unruh, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in November 2015 for sexual contact and fourth-degree rape charges, stemming from the same investigation.

Steele said Unruh has been cooperative in the case against Thomas, and while Unruh initially filed an intent to appeal his sentence, Steele doesn't believe he has any intention to move forward with the appeal.

randomness