Kauai man gets
10 years for child porn


Thursday, April 8, 2003

>> Martin Finer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. His last name was misspelled as Finder in a story on Page A4 in Tuesday's early edition.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

A 60-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for posting an ad on the Internet offering to trade child pornography and for possessing thousands of images and movies of child pornography on his computer.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra sentenced Martin Finer of Kauai yesterday to the maximum term possible but said if he could, he would have ordered him to serve a 20-year term.

"That these children's innocence should be stolen by adults for personal profit and pleasure is just beyond the court's comprehension," Ezra said, adding that the federal law is too lenient for a crime of this magnitude.

During a search of Finer's Kapaa home in May 2002, federal agents found nearly 59,000 pictures of child pornography and 3,000 movies of children having sex on his computer -- one of the largest collections found in Hawaii, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.

Finer apparently ran a computer file server where he had stored the images and was making them available over the Internet -- a well-known method used by child pornography traffickers, Tong said.

Finer had posted an Internet ad in April 2002 using the screen name "happydad" offering to trade child pornography. Those who responded would be given Finer's password to download images from his file server in exchange for them uploading images to him, Tong said. An undercover officer answered the ad and discovered the images in Finder's computer directory.

Yesterday, Finer apologized to the court and to his family for his conduct and requested that the court recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that he serve his term at a federal prison camp in Butner, N.C., where he can get treated for his problem.

Finer had denied for a long time that he had a problem, said assistant federal defender Michael Weight. But since his arrest, Finer has cooperated fulfully with law enforcement, has come to grips with his problem and wants to deal with it as effectively as he can, Weight said.

Tong said the 10-year term and recommendation to Butner is appropriate but expressed concern about Finer's history and the high rate of recidivism for sex offenders, adding that he wished Finer had sought treatment earlier.

Finer has two convictions in Massachusetts in 1964 and 1982 for offenses involving children.

Finer, who has been in federal custody since his arrest in July 2002, pleaded guilty to the charges last July under a plea agreement. The complaint charging him with posting the Internet ad came out of New York but was consolidated with the state possession charge.

In return for his guilty plea, federal prosecutors dropped two other charges, including distribution of child pornography, which would not have affected Finer's sentence.

Tong said the investigation did not identify any of the children as Hawaii residents.

Finer apparently was not running the file server to make money but to amass his personal collection, Tong added.

After he serves his 10-year term, Finer will be placed on three years of supervised release. If he violates any court-imposed condition or commits another crime involving children, Finer could find himself facing a life term, Tong said.

Almost a year after Finer's arrest, the federal PROTECT Act went into effect, increasing the penalty for any offense involving the advertising of child pornography to 15 years.


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