Journalist gets 4 months in prison
The sentence is below federal guidelines for child porn cases
A longtime Honolulu Advertiser employee was sentenced Thursday to four months in federal prison followed by 18 months of home detention for possessing 15,000 images of child pornography on his home computer.
James C. Richardson, 62, was facing between three to four years' imprisonment under federal sentencing guidelines, a term sought by federal prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra imposed a term below the guideline range and less than the six months sought by Richardson's attorney.
Ezra also ordered Richardson, who has served in various editorial positions -- most recently as copy editor -- to three years on supervised release, to obtain treatment and to register on the state's sex offender registry.
Richardson, who turns 63 next week, pleaded guilty in March to one count of possessing child pornography. He admitted he had pictures of naked children on his computer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong said that from 2001 to 2003, Richardson bought subscriptions to commercial Web sites that offer child pornography and had downloaded 15,000 images. The bulk of the photos ranged from children partially clothed to increasingly explicit images, ending with close-up shots of their genitals.
Defense attorney Birney Bervar argued for a lesser sentence, saying Richardson, an exemplary Advertiser employee for 36 years, suffered diminished mental capacity from an obsessive compulsive disorder, causing him to collect various items, including child pornography, nudist magazines, golf balls and coins.
He said Richardson had been evaluated and found to have no sexual interest in children. Richardson also took and passed a polygraph exam that indicated he has never touched a child inappropriately.
Richardson "is deeply remorseful for the whole situation," Bervar said.
Ezra spoke about the harm caused by his conduct and said he did not accept Richardson's belief that child pornography only involved pictures of children having sex and did not involve images of nude children.
But Ezra acknowledged mitigating circumstances, including Richardson's charitable and community contributions and 30-plus years with the Advertiser.
Ezra also said he believed that the potential for Richardson re-offending was low and that there was no indication he had molested anyone.
Tong argued that should not be the basis for a lesser sentence because Richardson was not convicted of molesting a child, but for possessing child pornography, and that is what is reflected in the guideline range.
Tong said the substantial number of images Richardson acquired by buying subscriptions to commercial child porn Web sites is a serious matter.
"Without collectors there is no demand for producers of child pornography. He in essence helped support the entire industry," Tong said.