WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man who pleaded guilty in May to possessing child pornography on his computer was sentenced Tuesday in Nobles County District Court.
Nathan James Ellingson, 34, cried as Judge Timothy Connell sentenced him to 120 days in jail. Ellingson was hoping to serve his sentence on electronic home monitoring.
"I'll lose my job if I miss even one day of work," he sobbed.
During the hearing, Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore let Connell know electronic home monitoring was not an option the state liked.
"I personally believe the gravity of the situation merits actual jail time," Moore said.
Ellingson was charged in February with possession of child pornography after a friend of the family did some work on Ellingson's computer. While repairing damage from a spilled bowl of soup onto the laptop, the man discovered files that contained child pornography. He turned the information and the laptop over to authorities.
When Ellingson spoke to authorities after being read his rights, he admitted to downloading the files using a peer sharing site.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, Ellingson's former girlfriend, who he had lived with when he was arrested, gave an impact statement, telling the judge that Ellingson's actions placed her livelihood as a daycare provider in jeopardy.
Ellingson's mother then spoke to the judge. She stated she did not condone what her son had done, but had seen in the last few months that he had "turned around" and was reaching out for counseling.
"He has been a curious kid all of his life," she stated, then spoke of his ongoing battle with depression. "He always had a curiosity that got him into trouble."
Ellingson's attorney, John Scholl, asked the judge to consider the electronic home monitoring, which would allow Ellingson to keep his job.
"It wouldn't do society any good to have him lose his job," Scholl said. "It would provide sufficient punishment, and not unduly affect his employment and his getting on with life."
Connell asked if there was a possibility for work release, but Moore didn't know if it would work or not because Ellingson delivers papers in the late afternoon and overnight, driving as far away as Tracy and Balaton.
When asked if he had anything to say, Ellingson stated that he wished he could turn back time and seek help earlier, referring to the porn charges as a "fluke thing."
"I'm trying to get my life put back together," he stated. "I lost my marriage, I lost my house to a fire, I lost a job ... please give me mercy."
Connell sentenced Ellingson to 120 days in jail with the possibility of work release. He will serve five years probation and do 50 hours of community service. Ellingson was ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 except relatives and under supervision, and to have no Internet use unless approved by probation. He must also register as a sex offender and have a sex offender assessment.
"With the nature of the offense, Mr. Moore is correct about jail time," Connell stated as Ellingson began to sob. "I hope you can work out your work release, but if you don't, there is nothing I can do."
Connell also addressed a comment to Ellingson's mother, telling her that an excuse of curiosity for possession of child pornography was completely unacceptable.
"Curiosity? This is so far beyond it I can't let that comment stand," Connell stated. "That is not an excuse."
Ellingson was given until Friday afternoon to report to the Nobles County Jail.