A 31-year-old Florida woman was sentenced to 38 months in prison for possession of child pornography she made of an 11-year-old girl she was familiar with and distributed on Facebook while she lived in Bellingham.
According to Whatcom County Superior Court records, Debra Grace Thomas pleaded guilty to charges of first- and second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and sexual exploitation of a minor on June 27. She was sentenced to 38 months in prison and 36 months community custody on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
She was remanded to Whatcom County Jail Wednesday, records show, and was transferred to the Department of Corrections to begin serving her sentence, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Bellingham Herald.
According to court documents, the Bellingham Police Department first became involved in the case in June of 2016 when the girl, who was 11 at the time, reported that she had been raped by a man she met online.
Investigators were concerned by the girl’s “early sexual behavior and advanced knowledge of sex,” documents state, but her family moved her to Florida without informing police four days after the investigation was opened.
Police were able to arrest a Whatcom County man on suspicion of the rape, documents said, but his name was not included. Further investigation also reportedly revealed he had nude photographs of the girl.
In September of 2017, court documents say the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida contacted Bellingham police to inform them that the girl had reported to investigators there that while she lived in Bellingham between June 2014 and June 2016, Thomas had taken nude and sexually explicit photos and videos of the girl and engaged in sexual activity with the girl on camera. Thomas also sent the photos and videos to a man named Nathan Richard Bradley, who lived in Olympia, via Facebook Messenger, documents stated.
Investigators were able to locate the images and videos after submitting warrants to Facebook, documents state.
Thomas was arrested in Florida in December of 2017 and extradited to Whatcom County in January of 2018.
Whatcom County Superior Court records show Bradley was scheduled to begin a jury trial Wednesday for charges of first-degree possession and viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:
▪ Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour Help Line: 360-715-1563, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ Lummi Victims of Crime: 360-312-2015.
▪ Bellingham Police: You can call anonymously at 360-778-8611, or go online at cob.org/tips.
▪ Brigid Collins Family Support Center: 360-734-4616, brigidcollins.org.