BANGOR, Maine - A 29-year-old Caribou man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 17½ years in prison for sharing his extensive collection of child pornography on the Internet.
Adam A. Stone also was sentenced to five years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.
Stone, who had no criminal record, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in January to transporting or shipping child pornography by computer.
He faced a mandatory minimum of five and maximum of 20 years in prison. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between 17½ and 20 years in prison.
Stone’s sentence was one of the longest U.S. District Judge John Woodcock has imposed under the nation’s child pornography laws.
His collection included more than 600 pornographic photographs and videos of children, according to court documents. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children identified known child victims in 192 of those images.
The investigation into Stone’s Internet activities began more than three years ago when an undercover detective in Wheaton, Ill., posing as a 15-year-old girl made contact with him. The detective notified the FBI in Maine and Stone’s three computers and CDs on which he had stored images were seized in June 2005.
Cases that require forensic evaluations of computer hard drives can take three years or more to investigate and bring before a judge because of the large number of cases investigated throughout the country and the limited resources of the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Stone’s sentence more than tripled the five-year mandatory minimum because of the extensive nature of his collection, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell, who prosecuted the case.
Stone’s sentence was increased because:
ä One of the images depicted a prepubescent minor.
ä He distributed the material to a person he thought was a minor.
ä Some of the images depicted sadistic or masochistic conduct.
ä He used a computer to distribute them.
ä The collection included more than 600 images.
Lowell recommended that Stone be sentenced to 17½ years in prison and 10 years of supervised release. Federal Public Defender Virginia Villa argued that the sentence was too harsh.
Villa said in her sentencing memorandum that if he had killed someone in Acadia National Park, his sentence could have been less than it was for distributing pornography. For example, she wrote, if Stone had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, he would have faced between 63 and 78 months in prison under the recommended sentencing guideline set by the federal Sentencing Commission.
"Adam Stone did not kill anyone," Villa said. "He didn’t physically touch anyone. He didn’t attempt to physically touch anyone. He possessed images. He shared images."
She urged the judge to deviate from the sentencing guidelines and impose a shorter prison term "because there is something inherently wrong with the manner in which this suggested range has come to be."
Villa argued unsuccessfully that the increases in her client’s sentence should not be imposed because they were a result of directives from Congress rather than by "any reflection of the exercise of the commission’s particular area of expertise."
Woodcock, who rarely deviates from the guidelines, accepted the prison term Lowell recommended. The judge also recommended the federal Bureau of Prisons allow Stone to serve all or a portion of his sentence in a facility in Devens, Mass., that offers treatment to sex offenders and people convicted under the child pornography laws.
Stone, who has been held at the Penobscot County Jail since he pleaded guilty, will receive his prison assignment in about four weeks.