Man gets 64 months in prison, supervision for life for child porn

September 16, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

An Aberdeen man who pleaded guilty last year to possessing child pornography will spend 64 months in prison and then will be supervised for the rest of his life by federal agents, a U.S. District Court judge ruled yesterday.

The strict sentence was hailed by prosecutors, who said it was the first time in Maryland that a federal judge had imposed life supervision in a child pornography case.

Most people are supervised after their prison time for a few years.

But concerns about recidivism among pedophiles has prompted prosecutors and child welfare advocates to push for tougher post-prison sanctions.

"I think the general deterrence message is sent," said Michael Kulstad, a spokesman for the Department of Justice. "And the safety message is sent as well. This man will be supervised for the rest of his life."

Morris Lacy Chapman, 53, a civilian who worked with explosives at Aberdeen Proving Ground, pleaded guilty in December to having 18 pictures depicting a 9-year-old girl in sexually explicit conduct.

A civilian security officer at the proving ground had found the pictures while clearing out Chapman's locker, prosecutors said.

The officer turned the photographs over to military police, who alerted the FBI.

Prosecutors said Chapman told investigators that he was the man in the pictures, which he had taken with a Polaroid camera in 1979.

Production of child pornography was not a federal crime in 1979, so Chapman could be prosecuted only for possession, prosecutor said.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. handed down Chapman's sentence yesterday at a hearing in the federal courthouse in Baltimore.

Life supervision means that Chapman will be monitored by federal probation officers. If he violates any of the restrictions those officers set up, he could return to prison.

"It sounds to me that there are justifications for the punishment," said Michael Millemann, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. "You've got someone who is 53 years old and who has had problems like this during the course of a lifetime."

Neither Chapman nor his defense lawyer could be reached for comment.

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