Man who looked to adopt jailed for child porn

Posted July 30, 2009, at 8:39 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge on Thursday called “deeply troubling” a Corinth man’s actions in downloading images of children engaged in sexual activity and his comments in Internet chat rooms while he and his former male partner were in the process of adopting a child.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Arthur W. Cole, 41, to five years 10 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

Cole pleaded guilty in October 2008 to downloading nearly 300 images of child pornography before September 2006, when Maine State Police detectives seized his computer at the Corinth home he shared with his former partner. The images included prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity with adults, according to court documents.

“These images are profoundly disturbing,” Woodcock said in sentencing Cole. “These children appear to range in age from as young as 3 to their early teens. These children are not simply posed; they are actually engaged in sexual activity.

“You also engaged in a chat with someone you knew was a child where you offered to trade ‘some great vids and pics’ if he would [engage in sexual activity with] his 5-year-old brother on a live video camera,” the judge continued. “In light of the amount of images you were viewing and the nature of the type of chat, which was going on while you and your partner were trying to adopt a child, [your activity] is deeply troubling.”

Through his attorney, Marvin Glazier of Bangor, Cole said that he had no memory of the chats but he did not dispute that they were found on his computer or that his screen name was used during them.

Cole, who grew up in Machias and graduated from Washington Academy in 1986, apologized to his dozen family members, friends and former co-workers who attended the hour-long sentencing.

“I want to thank my family and friends for all the love, support and faith in me they’ve shown,” he said when given the opportunity to address the court. “I’d like to apologize to them. I understand that what I did harmed others.”

Cole and his former partner split in December 2007 after seven years together. It was not disclosed in court whether the man was able to adopt a child after his relationship with Cole ended.

The defendant spent much his adult life working at assisted-living facilities in the Bangor area, according to Woodcock, and had no criminal history.

The pornography was found in September 2006 when state police detectives were informed that Cole had been “chatting” with a person whose computer had been seized in an unrelated investigation, according to court documents. Cole also unknowingly communicated with a law enforcement official posing as a 14-year-old.

In a press release issued after the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby praised the investigation by state police and the FBI. She said viewers and collectors of images that show children involved in sexual acts contribute to a cycle of abuse and are in part responsible for the harm of the children used to produce the images because they create a demand for the production of more child pornography.

Cole faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between five years three months and 6½ years in prison. Cole also faced a mandatory minimum of two years and a maximum of lifetime supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore recommended Woodcock impose the sentence he did. Glazier urged Woodcock to impose a sentence of five years three months with four years of supervised release.

Woodcock recommended that Cole serve his sentence at a facility where he may receive sex offender treatment, but it will be up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to make the assignment.

Once released, Cole will not be required to register as a sex offender. State and federal laws require that people convicted of sexually touching or assaulting a child are required to register as sex offenders for varying time periods depending on the nature of the crimes.

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