Former Dolores County Sheriff’s Office deputy Joshua Hemphill was sentenced in February in two separate Colorado judicial districts to 15 years to life for sexual offenses against children.
Hemphill, 27, was first arrested in August 2017 in Montrose County, in Colorado’s 7th Judicial District. District Attorney Daniel Rubenstein, for the neighboring 21th Judicial District in Mesa County, said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation for the 7th Judicial District.
He said the CBI seized Hemphill’s computer and found evidence of victims in Mesa County. Hemphill subsequently pleaded guilty in the 21st Judicial District to sexual assault against a child with a pattern of abuse, with one named victim, and sexual exploitation of a child, with two named victims. The male victims were age 13, 14 and 15 at the time of the offenses. Hemphill was 23.
Both charges are Class 3 felonies, and Hemphill was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 15 years to life.
“Those three victims were the only three Mesa County victims, and then of course he had the case out of the 7th Judicial District as well,” Rubenstein said.
Sherry McKenzie, spokesperson for District Attorney’s Office for the 7th Judicial District, stated in an email to The Journal that Hemphill pleaded guilty to one count of sex assault on a child by one in a position of trust with a victim under 15 years old. He was sentenced on Feb. 25 to 15 years to life with the Colorado Department of Corrections. She stated 13 other counts were dismissed.
Rubenstein explained that in Colorado, most sex offenders are under lifetime supervision. Hemphill could serve 15 years in prison and then become eligible for parole. If paroled, Rubenstein said Hemphill would be on parole for the rest of his life. If he violated parole, he could go back to prison for the rest of his life.
He said people convicted of sex crimes generally serve 85 to 90 percent of their sentence, depending on behavior.
On the two guilty pleas in Mesa County, Rubenstein said the sex assault with a pattern of abuse means Hemphill admitted to single act of assault on a child but that act was part of a pattern of multiple acts. Computer forensics were used to find emails setting up meet times and locations to engage in sexual activity.
On the sexual exploitation of a child conviction, Rubenstein said Hemphill was accused of persuading children to send him pictures of themselves nude. He said CBI recovered the pictures on Hemphill’s computer and interviewed the two victims, who said that they sent the pictures.
In the Montrose County case, Hemphill was in a position of trust with at least one young boy whom he assaulted. Rubenstein said Hemphill found his victims in Montrose through the Partners youth mentoring program, which is similar to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Rubenstein said that was not how Hemphill found his victims in Mesa County.