Newton man convicted of indecent liberies with a child

Staff Writer

A Newton man will spend the next six years in prison after being convicted of five counts of indecent liberties with a child during Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.

Donald Eugene Blankenship, 47, was given an active prison term of 6 to 12 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Julia Lynn Gullett, Superior Court Judge from Iredell County.

In addition, Blankenship will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years and be subject to satellite-based monitoring upon his release from prison.

Blankenship’s offenses involved three different children ranging in ages 6 to 14.

The first offense occurred with a then-6-year-old male victim in July 2010. The victim was the child of a family friend who was left alone with the defendant. The act involved fondling of the boy and Blankenship having the child touch him.

Another offense in June 2012 involved a then-14-year-old female who was touched inappropriately by Blankenship.

An 11-year-old female was the victim of the third offense during the summer of 2012. Blankenship also inappropriately touched her.

Blankenship’s offenses came to light following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into an acquaintance of his living in Joplin, Mo. That investigation, which also included work by the Joplin Police Department, found that the subject in Missouri sent child pornography electronically to Blankenship. This led to the investigation of Donald Blankenship by the Newton Police Department.

During an interview with investigators from Newton Police Department, Blankenship admitted to receiving and downloading child pornography, and that he had inappropriately touched children in Catawba County.

Spencer Cline led the investigation for Newton Police Department with assistance from the FBI and Joplin, Mo., Police Department. Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren prosecuted the case for the State.