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August 23, 2011

What sentence is deserved (and not disparate) for mass horrific stash of downloaded kiddie porn?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this eye-pooping local story out of Ohio, which is headlined "More than 177,000 child-porn images found at London man's home."  Here are the details:

A London man has been charged with possession of what a prosecutor describes as the largest cache of computerized child pornography ever uncovered in Madison County.

Donald Lemasters, 43, was charged with 15 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving minors, nine counts of possessing sexually oriented material involving minors and one count of possession of criminal tools.

Assistant Prosecutor Eamon Costello said authorities found more than 177,000 images of nude children and minors involved in sexual activities on a computer and CDs at Lemasters’ home.  Lemasters is not accused of producing the pornography....

Lemasters appeared yesterday in Madison County Common Pleas Court. Judge Robert D. Nichols released Lemasters on his own recognizance and placed him under house arrest.

Madison County Prosecutor Steve Pronai said the case is easily the worst he has handled. “This is some of the most disgusting stuff I have ever seen. You can’t even look at it,” he said. “We’re talking just babies here.”

He said a Franklin County task force that trolls the web to target child pornographers received a hit on a file-sharing website that linked thousands of images to Lemasters.

Regular readers are surely aware of examples of federal defendants getting sentences that run into decades for downloading only a few hundred picture of the worst kidde porn, and the enhancements that are imposed under the federal sentence guidelines based on the number of images top out at 600.  How then should the criminal justice system (and in this case it for now appears to be the Ohio state system) deal with an offender who has literally hundreds of thousands of more images?

August 23, 2011 at 06:16 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Do we know if Judge Nichols took away the home computer before placing him on house arrest?

Posted by: alan chaset | Aug 24, 2011 9:32:39 AM

"How then should the criminal justice system (and in this case it for now appears to be the Ohio state system) deal with an offender who has literally hundreds of thousands of more images?"

This is truly the sticky wicket of sex offender issues, to a tee. What constitutes actual child abuse to that of addictive perversion, akin to other forms of sexual addition such as rape fantasies, incest fantasies, and the like? Without getting into sordid details, what we have here is the classic dichotomy of abusive vs. addictive behavior, and how to properly gauge punishment.

The plain fact is that there is no corresponding legal penalties for other addictive behaviors vs. actual societal or victim damages that constitutes child pornography enforcement. The person owning the CP is generally classified in the same category as the reprobate who produces the pornography. Using the parallel enforcement of drugs, for instance, do we punish those who smoke an occasional doobie with the horrendous murders and torture that accomodates the drug trade at the cartel level?

That is only one aspect of such a dilemma, but the bottom line is that the legal mechanisms for all sex offender issues is based upon man's primal instinct to protect children at all costs, including that of rational legislation and judgments that, when compared to the immense damage that drugs (and alcohol!) have wreaked upon children, is not nearly as destructive.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Aug 24, 2011 11:45:04 AM

Maybe I'm jaded, but I'm really not entirely sure what's eye-popping about someone having a massive cache of child pornography like that. Many people that deal in that sort of stuff are in it for years and years, and they download and collect it. I don't think there's a 1:1 ratio in terms of harm done versus number of images possessed. I agree that having 177,000 images is certainly *worse* than having 1 or 2, but at base it's still the same crime.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 24, 2011 2:50:04 PM

Child pornography isn't a crime in 138 countries. In 122 countries, there's no law dealing with the use of computers and the Internet as a means of child porn distribution. In Japan for example, child pornography possession is legal [production is illegal]. However, in 2005 there were 33,308 reported incidents of child abuse with 1,048 being of a sexual nature. That same year, there were more than 3.5 million reported incidents of child abuse in the U.S. with 83,500 being of a sexual nature.

There were 179,446,550 less people in Japan in 2009 than in the U.S. - taking into account the laws of the 2 countries where child pornography is concerned, why the drastic difference in number of reputed sexual abuse incidents?

Posted by: Huh? | Aug 25, 2011 5:31:02 PM

Good question, but I doubt we'll find someone to answer that through our justice system here.

Posted by: james | Aug 25, 2011 8:17:54 PM

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