Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pornography charges
Former Special Education Teacher and Foster Parent Sentenced to 25 years in Federal Prison
Written on November 24, 2010 by Patrick Noaker in Protecting Our Kids.Monday, a federal judge sentenced former special education teacher, foster parent and admitted child pornographer, Gregg Larsen, to 25 years in federal prison.

Appearing in an orange jumpsuit, a shaved head and standing with his attorney, Gregg Larsen’s presence caused quite a stir to those of us who attended the sentencing hearing on Monday in United States District Court. In attendance were a number of victims, parents of victims and other legal and law enforcement personnel. All patiently waited to see what sentence the judge was going to dispense to Larsen.

In May, the government accused Larsen of producing child pornography involving 16 children. Some of the children were Larsen’s adopted children, some were foster children and some were special education students from Larsen’s school where he taught. Larsen ultimately pled guilty to two counts of manufacturing child pornography. On Monday, United States District Court Judge Joan Erickson handed down Larsen’s sentence on the charges.

During the sentencing hearing, Assistant United States Attorney David Steinkamp argued that Larsen’s sentence must send a clear message to all prospective child pornography producers and downloaders that if they become involved in the child pornography industry, they will go to prison for a “very, very long time.”

In addition, one of the victims of the pornography and a parent of one of the victims testified. The victim, and adopted son, gave a heart wrenching account of how he was absolutely crushed when he learned that Larsen had betrayed him by secretly taking photographs of the victim while in the bathroom at Larsen’s house. After that, came the moving statement by a father of one of the boys who had been victimized by Larsen. The father asked the judge to sentence Larsen to life in prison because that was the sentence that Larsen had forced upon his son when Larson uploaded the boy’s images to the internet. “They [the images] are out there forever” the man said.

After all the victims spoke and after all of the arguments were heard, Judge Erickson sentenced Gregg Larsen to 25 years in the federal penitentiary. She also sentenced Larsen to lifetime supervision by a federal probation officer so that when Larsen does get out of prison, he will be supervised to ensure that he never has access to the internet or children again.

What a tragedy. Gregg Larsen ruined a number of very young lives. The 25 year sentence in the custody of the federal prison system will not fix those lives, but it will guarantee that Larsen doesn’t ruin more lives during that period.

About the author: Patrick Noaker is an attorney with the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates who handles cases involving child sexual abuse, exploitation and pornography.

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