Child-porn owner gets 7-year sentence
The former teacher admitted purchasing the graphic images
A former Lahainaluna High School teacher was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for possessing more than 10,000 images of child pornography, including infants and toddlers crying or saying "no" to their abusers.
Christian Blackard Cornwell, 34, was facing up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty March 29 in U.S. District Court to possessing child pornography.
District Judge David Ezra called 87 months a "fair sentence" for the serious misconduct Cornwell engaged in for more than eight months.
"The defendant knew precisely what he was downloading and he downloaded for a period of time and did so purposefully," Ezra said.
Although Cornwell sought treatment and took responsibility, "unfortunately, this is just too serious and so sad -- there's no way to reconcile it," Ezra said.
Of the 10,000 images, a couple hundred were videos that included infants and toddlers being raped and molested, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Connors.
Audio could be heard of the children "saying no, crying out in protest, clearly, clearly objecting to what was happening to them and clearly, clearly in pain," she said.
Cornwell apologized yesterday for contributing to the victimization of children.
"What I did was truly reprehensible and I'm truly sorry," he told the court. "I would never intentionally hurt a child."
As a teacher and coach, he said he truly cared for his students and wanted them to succeed. By his actions, he betrayed their trust, he said.
Connors said the fact that he was a teacher was a concern. However, Ezra said there was no evidence in this case that he physically harmed any children. The child pornography was discovered on his home computer.
In a plea agreement, Cornwell admitted to paying $79.99 for access to pornography Web sites and using searches intended to find images of girls between 10 and 18. Cornwell's Internet protocol address was identified during a nationwide investigation beginning in October 2005 as one of many individuals who purchased subscriptions to the site.
Agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement searched Cornwell's Kula home in September 2006 and recovered a computer and CDs. His hard drive contained more than 600 computer files containing child pornography.
Defense attorney Eric Seitz said Cornwell accepted responsibility early on, even before charges were brought. He admitted to agents what he had done and immediately resigned from his teaching job. He also voluntarily entered and successfully completed a therapeutic program in Texas.
Ezra ordered Cornwell to turn himself in to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 27.