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David Fredricks, right, appears in court Friday at the Rock County Courthouse with his attorney, Phillip Brehm. Fredericks, a former night janitor at Janesville Parker High School, pleaded guilty to two counts of child porn possession.

JANESVILLE

A former school janitor might avoid prison after pleading guilty Friday to two counts of possession of child pornography.

David O. Fredricks, 59, of 1210 N. Randall Ave., Janesville, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing child porn in 2012.

The year is significant and could mean less time behind bars.

The original criminal complaint charged Fredricks with five counts of possessing child porn in 2018.

State law changed in 2012. It now imposes a mandatory minimum of three years in prison for possession of child porn, Fredricks’ attorney, Phillip Brehm, explained after the hearing.

Before, the law called for a “presumptive minimum” sentence of three years but allowed judicial discretion, Brehm said.

By pleading guilty to conduct in 2012 rather than conduct in 2018, Fredricks faces sentencing under the older, more lenient statute.

Brehm said his client could be charged for offenses in 2012 because of “a course of conduct over time.”

Judge Karl Hanson said in court that because the charges arose from 2012, he could sentence Fredricks to less than three years in prison. If he does, he must explain why it’s in the best interest of the community and the state and how the public would not be harmed.

Brehm and Deputy District Attorney Perry Folts presented a joint sentencing recommendation that calls for seven years of probation, nine months in jail, sex offender evaluation and treatment, no contact with anyone younger than 18, and placement on the state’s sex-offender registry.

Per standard procedure, Hanson warned Fredricks that he does not have to follow the plea agreement and could sentence him up to the maximum 25 years in the prison system on each count.

Brehm said Fredricks would remain on the sex offender registry for 15 years after his supervision by the Department of Corrections ends.

Fredricks was a night janitor at Janesville Parker High School when he was arrested in July. He had worked for the school district since September 2015. The district ended his employment in August.

The porn was found on Fredricks’ cellphones after Janesville police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, relayed by the state Department of Justice.

Police found images of “juvenile females engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” according to the criminal complaint.

Fredricks waived his right to a presentence background report. Brehm told Hanson that an already completed psycho-sexual evaluation by a health care professional would provide enough information for sentencing.

Hanson set sentencing for Wednesday, April 17.