Accused child porn distributor pleads guilty to felony charges

January 19, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego man accused of being the major distributor in one of the largest and boldest international child pornography operations pleaded guilty here yesterday to multiple felony counts.

Prosecutors said more arrests are possible in what was known as Overseas Male, a ring that reproduced child pornographic tapes made in Japan, China, Germany and Mexico and sold them in the United States.

Investigators found 387 videotapes, a 2,000-name mailing list, and 24 video recording machines for copying videos when they raided the home of James Leroy Kemmish, 54. The tapes were of boys, some as young as 6, engaged in sex acts with other boys and with men.

Barbara L. Major, an assistant U.S. attorney, said the government will ask for "a substantial" prison sentence when Kemmish is sentenced in April. Each of the six pornography counts carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"Every one of these children was abused during the making of these videos, an abuse that will stay with them the rest of their lives," Ms. Major said. "This is a very serious crime and it needs to be stopped."

Investigators indicated the videos were selling briskly, at a price between $75 and $200 each. Unlike much of the child pornography trade that depends on grainy, out-of-focus films, the videos sold by Overseas Male were as clear in focus and detailed as adult pornography, which flourishes openly.

Using the sales lists found in Kemmish's apartment, authorities are investigating some of the people listed as buyers of the child pornography. Two men whose names were on the lists have already been convicted: a man in Virginia for receiving child pornography, and a man in San Diego for molesting a 13-year-old boy.

Kemmish, an electrical engineer with no previous criminal record, was arrested at San Diego's Lindbergh Field when he attempted to enter the country from Mexico with $16,000 he had not declared to U.S. customs. Subsequent investigation linked him to Overseas Male.

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