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February 13, 2006

Seventh Circuit upholds long child porn sentence for former Catholic priest

The Seventh Circuit today in US v. McCaffrey, No. 03-2189 (7th Cir. Feb. 13, 2006) (available here), affirms a 20-year sentence for a former priest who pled guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography.  This ruling seems sure to make some headlines headlines, in part because the sentence was enhanced based in part of "McCaffrey's history of sexually abusing minors" when he was a priest (which apparently were never the basis for a criminal charge).  Here is one interesting passage from the Seventh Circuit's holding:

We find that under the unique circumstances at hand, the evidence of McCaffrey's crimes should be considered the equivalent of convictions.  Specifically, in light of McCaffrey's explicit on-the-stand confessions during the sentencing phase, corroborated by extensive victim testimony and contemporaneous documentary evidence, the acts were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, we conclude that the district court properly used the defendant's admitted, uncontroverted, and corroborated acts of abuse to justify two distinct upward departures from the guidelines.

February 13, 2006 at 01:23 PM | Permalink


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