O’Grady pleads guilty in child pornography case
Plea deal calls for a five-year prison sentence for Roaring Fork Valley man
A longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child by video Wednesday but got a reprieve from reporting to Eagle County Jail until he recovers from COVID-19.
Peter O’Grady’s plea bargain with the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office required him to be remanded to jail upon entering a guilty plea. He also has agreed to serve a five-year sentence in state prison, according to terms of the plea deal. But his attorney argued that sending O’Grady to jail now would present a risk to himself and other inmates since he is still battling COVID.
“He has lost a significant amount of weight, over 20 pounds,” said attorney Julia Stancil. O’Grady, 69, also is “extremely weakened by the disease” and is taking supplemental oxygen, the attorney said. Stancil said the jail cannot offer the kind of care that O’Grady needs at this point.
Stancil filed a motion with a statement from O’Grady’s physician that said his infection is “more severe than normal” and advised that he not be sent to jail until he feels better.
“A remand at this time would not only put Mr. O’Grady at greater risk but it would also expose jail staff and other inmates to the virus,” the motion said. “Mr. O’Grady has continued to test positive but has not taken a test this week due to his severe fatigue.”
Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi did not oppose Stancil’s motion to keep O’Grady out of jail but he told Eagle County District Judge Paul Dunkelman that O’Grady should not get credit for jail time while he is at home recovering after entering the guilty plea. The judge agreed.
Dunkelman asked O’Grady if his physical issues have created any mental hardships that affect his ability to understand the court proceedings and the implications of the plea deal. O’Grady said they did not and he entered a guilty plea.
O’Grady was arrested June 30 after the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at his home in Missouri Heights to confiscate computers, storage devices and cellphones. The search allegedly resulted in “large amounts of suspected online child pornography being recovered as evidence, and the suspect being arrested,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release issued in July.
He was released from jail on $5,000 bond. O’Grady owned and operated a catering business for numerous years in the valley.
In a court hearing in November, Lombardi said an investigator was examining more than 800,000 pictures and video files of possible evidence in the case.
Sexual exploitation of a child by video is a Class 4 felony punishable by two to six years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. The attorneys and O’Grady agreed to five years, though Dunkelman has the final say on the prison term at March 24 sentencing. O’Grady also will be required to register as a sex offender.
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