How did I rationalize what I was doing? I honestly felt that I was not doing anything to harm anyone. After all, everything I looked at had already happened sometime in the past. My merely finding it freely on-line had no bearing on what had happened to someone in the past. Whether or not I clicked on that file would not change the fact that a crime was committed long before I used my computer to view a file. However, now I am thinking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, if my rational was right. According to the Government, it is completely wrong. The government’s theory is that by my viewing an image, that victim is once again being harmed so they demand harsh punishment. However, I did look. And sadly, that is the problem. I created a demand. The perpetrators continue their supply.
But can we look at a few things with an open mind?
In 2016, USA Today ran an article reporting, “FBI ran website sharing thousands of child porn images”. The article reports that 23,000 sexually explicit images and videos of children were available on the website. During that time that the FBI ran the website, some 13 days, over 100,000 registered users visited the site while it was under FBI control. So, accordingly, the FBI harmed victims over 100,000 times! Now I sure as hell did not help the situation by my own activity, but then I never harmed anyone directly. And if the government says I did because the subjects were being re-victimized by my viewing, isn’t the government more guilty by running a website where over 100,000 people were allowed access and cause the same damage to those victims?
What is the proper amount of time of incarceration for a guy like me? What is my case? What exactly did I do? Well, I chatted online and found free pornography, all kinds of porn. Yes, I had made up nasty characters or personas during my chats. Yet I never made any attempt to seek out underage computer users. Since I lied about “who I was” I assumed that the majority of those who I communicated with online were in fact also lying, acting in a polluted fantasy land.
In 2014, The New York Times, ran a story about online fantasy; it was about a NYC police officer Gilberto Valle, The Hannibal cop.
Valle visited chat sites declaring his intention of kidnapping and eating women. Thus, the debate; when does a fantasy cross the criminal line? While found guilty, the case was overturned because the Judge ruled that there was no evidence that Mr. Valle had made any steps to move forward in his foolish chat.
I chatted about child pornography. I never acted. So how much time should I serve? “Sufficient but no greater than necessary.”
I never paid for anything I found online. I never produced it nor did I sell it. No one ever made a dime. I never sold anything to any others; therefore, I never received anything of value. Yet, the government says since digital files are shared through the computer, I was considered guilty for distribution.
I am sorry that I ever participated in viewing child pornography. I became addicted. Yes, addicted!
The court sentenced me to seventeen years. I have been incarcerated nearly ten. My goal in contributing to this blog is to somehow reach just one person looking at child pornography and urge them now to stop. If you are spending too much time online looking you have a problem. I denied mine, don’t deny yours. If someone in your home, child, teen, adult is spending too much time online you need to step in.
Seek help, get counseling, pornography addiction is real.
Captain Mark #53540-018
PO Box 1000
Cresson, PA 16630