A Helena man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to receiving more than 600 images of child pornography via the Internet between 2008 and 2010.

This is at least the second time Roger Allan Roybal, 41, appeared before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell to enter a plea to the charge. In January, he had declined to do so, saying he didn’t agree with some of the factual items put forward by federal prosecutors. They alleged Roybal had more than 1,600 videos and photographs on his computer that constituted child pornography.

After further reconsideration of the evidence, prosecutors lowered the number of images to 600. However, they noted that those images and movies still contain children engaged in sexually explicit conduct as defined under federal law.

Roybal came to the attention of law enforcement officials after an 11-year-old Missoula girl reported that Roybal, a family friend, had sexually abused her and shown her pornography on his computer at his Helena residence.

The allegations surfaced after the girl’s grandmother in Missoula County told police she’d discovered that pornography was being emailed to the girl. The child told authorities the man molested her from August to December 2010 at her mother’s home, at a Missoula hotel and on hikes. She also said that Roybal gave her alcohol and had her watch pornography with him, and he gave her a briefcase of pornographic magazines and a video.

Agents seized his computer, and found the child pornography.

He is slated to be sentenced on Oct. 4, after a pre-sentence investigation, and currently is in custody at the Cascade County Jail. Roybal faces a mandatory minimum of five years for the charge of receipt of child pornography, and up to 20 years in prison. Regardless of his sentence, once he’s released he can be put on federal supervision for the rest of his life.

Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Clark said charges are still pending in connection with the alleged sexual assault of the girl.


Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076, eve.byron@helenair.com or Twitter.com/IR_EveByron

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