Man sentenced for child exploitation

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HANCOCK COUNTY — A man accused of multiple felony child exploitation charges last spring was sentenced to a four-year term after a plea agreement was accepted Wednesday, Aug. 18, by Judge D.J. Davis in Hancock County Superior Court 1.

The case, which had special circumstances due to the intellectual capacity of the defendant, ended up with several charges being dismissed and the defendant being allowed to serve the remainder of his four-year term on probation.

Daniel W. Elliott, 52, Greenfield, who had been in the county jail since his arrest in April, pleaded guilty to a Level 5 felony count of possession of child pornography and will have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years. He will also be supervised on sex offender-specific probation, meaning he will be more closely monitored and have to go through counseling and periodic polygraph reviews. Should Elliott violate any terms of the agreement, he could face new charges and will have to spend the remainder of his term in prison.

Elliott has been on Social Security disability his entire life due to a brain injury suffered when he was a child, officials said. Now that his family is aware of the challenges he’s facing and the trouble he has gotten into, they’ve told officials they will be more involved in his life.

“One thing we want to make clear is no child was physically touched or in his presence, other than through an image,” deputy prosecutor Catherine Wilson said.

Wilson handled the case for the state and noted Elliot never filmed, created or coaxed any children, but was guilty of viewing child pornography through the internet and admitted what he was doing to officials when they approached him.

Officials with the Hamilton County Metro Child Exploitation Task Force identified Elliott, who engaged in child exploitation and dissemination of child pornography in December 2020 and January 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children generated 10 cyber tip-line reports associated with an IP address belonging to Elliott, who used the screen name Wolf Dog. He was arrested April 29.

“He understands what he did, but we don’t think he understands what he did is not socially acceptable,” Wilson said.

Two Level 4 felony child exploitation charges with an aggravating factor and a Level 6 felony count of child pornography were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

In the end Wilson, and Elliott’s attorney, Jeff McClarnon, felt the punishment was just.

“There are indeed some mental health issues there,” McClarnon said. “He’s got some challenges for sure, and I think the prosecutor and probation were on board with this deal.”