Crime & Safety

Man pleads guilty of child pornography production

Abingdon, Virginia – On Tuesday, a Bland County man pled guilty to 17 charges of child pornography production.
William Dean Blankenship, 42, pleaded guilty to illegally carrying a firearm after previously being convicted of a felony offense, in addition to the child pornography charges.
Blankenship’s residence was searched on Feb. 12 by the Bland County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police after accusations that he had engaged in sexual activities with kids and was in possession of child sexual abuse material, according to court filings.
Officers found a firearm during the search as well as a cellphone with more than 50 recordings of Blankenship having sexual contact with two children under the age of 18.
Blankenship routinely compelled and encouraged the two juveniles to engage in sexual behavior with Blankenship and with each other after providing the youngsters with narcotics and other controlled substances, according to law authorities. Blankenship began abusing the youngsters when they were about 14 and 13 years old.
Blankenship is set to be sentenced on Dec. 17 and faces a sentence of 20 to 50 years in federal prison, according to a plea agreement.

Gayle Gordon

As a college student, making an extra buck now and then was very important. I started as a part-time reporter since I was 19 yo, and I couldn’t believe it might become a long-time career. I'm happy to be part of the Virginian Tribune's team.

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