Fort Collins man pleads guilty to 3 child porn counts; police say he had nearly 700K files

Thomas Mares originally faced 60 counts

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A man arrested in March who police said had around 700,000 files of child pornography pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of possession of child exploitative material.

In exchange for the guilty plea, 53-year-old Thomas Christopher Mares saw 57 other counts of possession of child exploitative material dropped, according to court records.

Mares entered the plea in court Tuesday, when he was supposed to appear for a preliminary hearing.

Fort Collins police arrested Mares on March 15 after a months-long investigation that started in July 2017, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted police after discovering a computer hooked up to a Fort Collins-area network that contained sexually-explicit pictures of children.

Fort Collins police discovered approximately 676,000 pictures and 18,000 videos showing children being sexually exploited, they wrote in an affidavit for Mares’s arrest.

They estimated he’d been collecting child porn files for between 10 and 15 years.

Mares is scheduled to be sentenced June 4. Possession of child exploitative material is a class 3 felony in Colorado, which carry sentencing guidelines of between 4 and 12 years per each charge. That means Mares potentially faces between 12 and 36 years in prison upon sentencing.

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