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Former Aspen restaurant manager to be deported after jail sentence

A New Zealand resident and former Aspen restaurant manager will spend the next 90 days in jail before being deported home after pleading guilty to sending child pornography over the internet.

Blair Gibsone, 48, said he’s been in “self exile” in the eight months since his arrest, and blamed his actions on alcohol, the stress caused by the recent deaths of family members and working 16-hour days in Aspen’s hospitality industry.

“I did not consciously remember this happened,” Gibsone said Monday in court before he was sentenced. “But it’s devastating to think that it did happen.”

Gibsone pleaded guilty in December to sexual exploitation of a child and could have faced as many as 12 years in prison. However, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to ask for only a probationary sentence, which also was recommended by the state’s Probation Department, said prosecutor Don Nottingham.

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In addition to the 90 days in the Pitkin County Jail, District Judge Chris Seldin sentenced Gibsone to five years of probation that must include intensive sex-offender treatment, registration as a sex offender and both mental health and substance-abuse evaluations.

However, Seldin acknowledged that Gibsone is unlikely to serve the probation. That’s because after his jail sentence, he may be handed directly to immigration authorities and deported to New Zealand. Nottingham said he’s been contacted by New Zealand authorities, who wanted information about Gibsone’s case.

“It looks like he will have to register (as a sex offender) there, too,” Nottingham said.

Gibsone acknowledged that he will likely be deported.

“I beg that I can get back to New Zealand, try to pick up and push forward and better myself as a person,” he said. “I’ve been working on the reasons why this has happened.”

Gibsone was arrested in June after a female acquaintance told Aspen police that Gibsone admitted to regularly molesting and raping a young girl he frequently babysat. He sent the woman what he said was a picture of the girl sitting at a local Aspen restaurant.

Gibsone also included pictures of two naked female children and one naked male child in the Facebook chats he sent to the woman.

The babysitting story, however, turned out not to be true, and the girl he claimed to have molested did not exist, Nottingham and police have said.

However, Nottingham has said police also found numerous other sexually exploitative items in Gibsone’s house, while he admitted to a police detective that he’d been having sexual fantasies about children and had watched child pornography.

Seldin pointed out that Gibsone apparently never had any sexual contact with children and agreed that probation was appropriate in his case. However, he said he thought the Probation Department’s recommendation of just 30 days in jail wasn’t punitive enough.

“This offense requires 90 days (of jail) at a minimum,” Seldin said. “And that’s on the lenient side of what is (appropriate here).”

In light of the items found in his home, Seldin also said he found Gibsone’s story about blacking out and not remembering his actions “a bit hard to believe.”

Gibsone was taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy after Monday’s hearing and taken to jail to immediately begin his sentence.

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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