PORTALES, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — A Portales resident was found guilty on Friday on numerous counts of “causing or permitting a child (13-18) to engage in sexual exploitation.”

According to a news release from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, officials said that 53-year-old Anthony West, a Portales resident, was found guilty by a jury of nine counts of “causing or permitting a child (13-18) to engage in sexual exploitation.”

This comes after New Mexico State Police were contacted in April 2020 about a possible child pornography case. According to the release, officers discovered that West had “hundreds of explicit photos and videos of himself engaging in sexual acts with a child as young as 16” on multiple electronic devices.

Officials claim in the release that they believe West has groomed the victim since they were seven years of age. Investigators were reportedly able to “pinpoint several images which conclusively identified West as the perpetrator,” collecting more than 200 images showing abuse on nine days over the course of two years.

“It is not uncommon for a victim of this kind of sexual abuse to recant or struggle with breaking away from the abuse,” Prosecutor Brian Stover said in the release.  “The mental stress that a victim is under is extreme.  They often blame themselves for the abuse.  Our job is to seek after the truth.  Sometimes we have to protect the victims from themselves.”

Officials said that West has been taken into custody prior to his sentencing, scheduled for May 15. Officials said West is facing a maximum of 99 years in prison.

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