Skowhegan man gets 78 months in child porn case

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 08, 2009, at 8:23 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Skowhegan man who pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography onto his computer in July was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to more than six years in federal prison for possessing the offensive material.

Dana Cully, 59, who most recently worked as a photographer taking photos of schoolchildren, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. to 78 months in federal prison and five years of probation after his release.

Cully was caught with at least 745 images of child pornography and 171 pornographic videos. Some of the images show “babies and toddlers having sex with adult men,” the judge said.

Before handing down his sentence, Woodcock spoke directly to Cully, saying his long history of working with children in several capacities, including as a cheerleading coach and a photographer, is very troubling.

“I suspect that if any of the parents of those children knew you were under investigation for child pornography, they would have been horrified,” the judge said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy urged Woodcock to impose a slightly tougher sentence, while Virginia Villa, the federal public defender who represented Cully, urged the judge to impose a much lighter sentence of two to three years. She said that because of Cully’s depression, “he didn’t really see that it was a harm” to download the child porn.

“He was a depressed old man, sitting at home surfing the Web and downloading images that got him into trouble,” Villa said.

Cully, in a plaid shirt and jeans, with medium-length gray hair, spoke when given the opportunity during his sentencing.

“I am sorry for putting myself through this very bad situation,” he said to start. “I’m sorry for the children involved.”

He went on to say that while in jail awaiting his sentencing, he met someone who raped a 14-year-old and said that “it seems hard to justify that I’m in the same category.” He also objected to having to register online as a sex offender.

While serving his 6½-year prison sentence, Cully will be required to participate in sex offender treatment, and must register as a sex offender after his release, if the state he resides in requires it.

Cully will be allowed access to online computer sources only if he gets prior approval from his probation officer, and he must submit to searches of himself and any computer equipment in his possession.

During the child pornography investigation, it was discovered that Cully’s mother used to dress him in girl’s clothing, that he wished he were born a girl, and that he recently began taking hormones to grow breasts, Woodcock said.

Cully, whose e-mail password was “girlygirl,” also posed online as a young girl, court documents state.

“There is some suggestion that all is not right,” the judge said.

Cully, who has no criminal record, was arrested at his home in October 2006, after Cyber Crimes Center agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement learned that he was downloading child pornography over the Internet at his Skowhegan home.

“What you should know, whatever the cause — hormones, upbringing or genetics — there is no justification for downloading these images,” Woodcock said. “Your conduct is not acceptable.”

The judge added, “You are not the victim of your own crime. Your conduct is not allowed. The children in the pictures are real children and they’re suffering real harm.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/01/08/news/bangor/skowhegan-man-gets-78-months-in-child-porn-case/ printed on April 19, 2014