Man gets 15 years for porn involving girlfriend’s child

Posted Jan. 27, 2010, at 10:45 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An Islesford man was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for production of child pornography, conduct a federal judge referred to as “a bizarre, extraordinary and inexcusable invasion of [the victim’s] privacy.”

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock issued the sentence to Daniel Poulin, 44, who used a sophisticated pinhole camera system to videotape his girlfriend’s teenage daughter over a period of several years.

The victim, who was between the ages of 13 and 18 when the videotaping occurred, addressed the court on Wednesday and said Poulin’s “demoralizing and degrading” actions have scarred her for life.

“He crossed any boundaries with his inappropriate obsessions,” the young woman said.

Poulin wore a wrinkled suit and appeared relaxed during the 90-minute sentencing. In addition to the 15-year prison term, Poulin also will submit to supervised release for 10 years and will have to comply with the state’s sex offender registry requirements. The charges were federal charges because Poulin bought the surveillance cameras from a Texas company and had them mailed to him in Maine.

He had been found guilty last September of producing child pornography after a four-day jury-waived trial.

An initial investigation began in 2006 after Poulin and his then-girlfriend broke up and the woman found DVDs in her home that showed her daughter in various stages of undress. Further search of the home, as well as a search of another home owned by Poulin’s mother, found nearly 30 additional DVDs and four pinhole cameras, which had been set up in the bathroom. One camera was even used in a toilet.

The videos that were seized spanned several years and at least four different residences in central and coastal Maine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Malone said Wednesday that the sheer duration of Poulin’s conduct and the amount of effort he put into taping the footage and then editing it down were staggering.

“After all of this, he continues to argue that this wasn’t child pornography,” she said. “He still doesn’t get it, and from a sentencing perspective, this is profoundly troubling.”

Poulin’s attorney, David Van Dyke, said his client always has admitted that he invaded the victim’s privacy. He disagreed, however, with the characterization that the video and images produced were child pornography in the traditional sense. He also pointed out that they were never distributed.

Woodcock essentially agreed with Van Dyke’s assessment of the images, which did not show any sexual conduct, but mostly depicted the victim undressing or toweling off after showering. However, because many of the video clips and images focused on the girl’s genitals and because they were taken while she was under the age of 18, they fit the federal definition of child pornography. Additionally, evidence revealed during the trial showed that Poulin masturbated to the video imagery.

The judge was somewhat lenient in his sentencing of Poulin in the sense that it was the mandatory minimum term allowed under federal guidelines for the crime, but Woodcock addressed Poulin’s conduct with stern words.

“Your conduct gives an entirely new meaning to the term obsession,” the judge said. “It was not merely criminal, but wrong on many, many levels.”

Van Dyke indicated after his client’s trial last September that the case raised many questions that could lead to an appeal, but it wasn’t clear Wednesday if Poulin planned to appeal.

In his sentencing, Woodcock addressed the victim and said he was impressed with her composure and articulateness throughout the trial.

“I am confident that you can put this behind you,” he said.

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