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Plea deal nets 100 years, 15 to serve

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

RADFORD – A former Radford University professor will have to serve 15 years of a 100-year prison sentence after pleading guilty Thursday to drug, child pornography and other charges.

According to Radford City Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, Taj Mahon-Haft entered into a plea agreement in Radford City Circuit Court. Under the agreement Mahon-Haft pled guilty to possession of marijuana, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, three counts of possession of a Schedule I drug and 50 counts of possession of child pornography. Fifty other counts of possession of child porn, nine counts of filming child porn and one count of assault upon a law enforcement officer were nolle prosequi (not prosecuted with the option to refile).

Rehak said the former criminal justice professor received a total sentence of 100 years, with 85 years suspended. The suspended sentence is subject to revocation for a period of 50 years. Mahon-Haft will be placed on 10 years of supervised probation upon release and he also was fined $3,000.

The sentence was a deviation from state sentencing guidelines, which recommended an active sentence of three years, eight months to six years.

Rehak said the defendant recreated child porn images by copying the illegal material, “but there was no evidence hurt children or manufactured new images of child pornography.

“Those who collect these images support and encourage more sexual child abuse by perpetuating the market.  Documenting child sex abuse and distributing child pornography is a horrendous international problem, which has worsened with the development of the Internet and wireless technology,” Rehak added. “While finding subjects who collect and enjoy these images has become increasingly more difficult, those caught will be identified and prosecuted.”

Mahon-Haft was originally arrested on the drug charges after a search warrant was executed at his Radford residence. The first set of pornography possession charges stemmed from images allegedly found on computers seized at that time. The pornography production and second set of pornography possession charges stemmed from additional images found on a laptop seized during a March search of the residence.

The assault, resisting arrest and obstruction charges were filed when he allegedly resisted arrest as the second set of warrants were being served on him.