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Mother gets 10 years in child porn case

A former Medford woman was sentenced Thursday to a decade in prison for exchanging 13 sexually explicit photographs of her infant son and bantering about child sexual abuse with an undercover FBI agent.

Blaming her crime on a mix of postpartum depression, isolation and abuse she experienced as a child, Lea Kathryn Jones was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Medford to 125 months in prison for transporting child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Potter, who sought a 180-month sentence, said she empathized with Jones' postpartum issues but couldn't excuse "the risk you put your son in."

"What you did to your child was so beyond the pale," Potter said, later calling the behavior "horrendous."

Jones, who lived with her fiancee in an apartment in the 1400 block of Poplar Drive when she was arrested in July 2016, admitted she used Kik messenger, a smartphone messaging app, to make contact with the undercover agent as "Hrnymomma," attempting to trade pictures of her son for naked pictures of a young girl.

During the chat, she told the undercover agent that she was "very new to this." Jones also messaged the agent descriptions of sexual abuse she'd engaged in with the child.

In court, Jones, who has been living with her father in Sonoma, California, broke into tears as she tried to explain the "one horrible decision" that lost her her son, now 3 years old, and the infant son, now a 1 year old, she was pregnant with at the time of her arrest.

She said that she was sexually abused when she was a kindergartner, and had miscarried between the two sons she bore, and had used pornography as a coping mechanism. Jones said she's in counseling with the goal of having a "healthy, normal life."

"Every day I wish I could take it back," Jones said.

District Judge Ann Aiken called the case "difficult for everyone involved," saying it was "hard to believe that could happen." Aiken said she should be thankful the photographs went to an officer, not on the internet.

"I'm not here to pile any more shame on you," Aiken said, adding, "You should be grateful you were caught."

Aiken ordered Jones to report to U.S. Marshals in Santa Rosa, California, at noon Thursday, March 1.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Lea Kathryn Jones