Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details regarding sexual abuse and child pornography. Reader discretion is advised.
A 27-year-old man will spend more than two decades in prison in connection to child pornography and sexual abuse.
On Monday, Joshua Blake Taylor pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and first-degree statutory sex offense in Wilson County Superior Court.
Visiting Superior Court Judge J. Carlton “J.C.” Cole sentenced Taylor to roughly four to 10 years on the exploitation charge and 16 to 24 years on the sex offense charge, which will run consecutively. The total combined prison term is roughly 20 to 35 years.
Taylor will also be required to register on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry for 30 years as well.
In May 2018, Google notified the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children regarding a child pornography upload, and the company’s cyber tip line contacted the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, prosecutor Terry Orndorff told the court.
“Information was that the defendant by name, his email and his phone number had loaded child pornography,” Orndorff told the court.
Investigators discovered videos, three of which showed Taylor sodomizing a toddler, according to court proceedings. Taylor only admitted to one of those sex acts to officials, prosecutors said.
In total, officials obtained 310 videos from Taylor’s devices, eight of which involved toddlers, prosecutors said in court. There were also 299 still images obtained; 98 of which involved toddlers, according to court proceedings. Offense dates ranged from December 2017 to May 2018.
Taylor, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2016, had no prior criminal record, according to court proceedings.
Taylor served a nine-month stint in Afghanistan in an active area of that war, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as well, his attorney Thomas Moore of Moore Law, told the court. Taylor also suffered from alcohol misuse since returning home from war. Moore told the court the present case was serious and that his client needs “a lot of help.”
Taylor also addressed the court and told the judge that after his return from Afghanistan, he tried to self-medicate with alcohol and it made him a worse person. Taylor said he will regret what happened for the rest of his life.
Judge Cole also ordered that Taylor be allowed to participate in any program that may be made available to him for PTSD and or alcohol, and any other treatment the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Corrections may have available for veterans.