Pleasant Point man to serve 1 year for child porn images

Forrest Sapiel
Tim Cox | BDN
Forrest Sapiel
Posted Aug. 23, 2013, at 5:28 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A Pleasant Point man who had thousands of pornographic images on his computer and had pleaded guilty earlier to 19 charges of possessing child pornography was sentenced to one year in prison Friday.

Washington County Superior Court Justice Donald Alexander imposed the sentence immediately against Forrest Sapiel, 32, who pleaded for a 30-day stay in order to be able to keep working briefly and earn more money for his family.

Alexander sentenced Sapiel to 16 years in prison with all but one suspended, meaning he will have an active sentence of one year. Sapiel could be released as early as eight months, indicated Alexander, who also ordered the defendant to be on probation for 12 years following his release.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh had requested an active sentence of six years in prison. Sentencing in cases of this type is “difficult and complex,” Cavanaugh said after the hearing. The base period of the overall sentence — 16 years — was the same as he recommended, he noted.

Alexander acknowledged the state’s crowded prisons and said the active prison time reflects to what extent Sapiel is a threat to others and “how serious this is.”

Alexander imposed numerous conditions on Sapiel when he is released. They include no contact with his daughter unless with another adult and approved by a probation officer and no contact with children under 16. His access to the Internet and social media sites must be approved and monitored by his probation officer.

Sapiel originally was charged with 24 counts of possession of child pornography. Under the terms of the plea agreement, five charges were dismissed.

Authorities identified more than 40,000 images on Sapiel’s computer, Cavanaugh noted in a sentencing memorandum. The “vast majority” of the images were pornographic, he said.

Cavanaugh’s memo summarily described four videos in the case. They involved children as young as 6 years old. One video depicted a 9-year-old girl engaged in sexual acts with her 11-year-old brother — the video file name referred to the siblings as sex slaves.

Sapiel obtained the images over the Internet, but there was no evidence he was engaged in activities to produce or manufacture them or to film pornographic images of children, according to Cavanaugh.

During the sentencing hearing, Cavanaugh said the child victims “came from all over the world.”

The prosecutor did indicate that the defendant had said he was abused as a child.

In a brief statement to Alexander, Sapiel indicated that viewing child pornography has been a problem for him since he was “very young.”

“I look forward to being out of this dark period of my life,” said Sapiel, who wore camouflage shorts, a dark T-shirt, sneakers and a necklace.

Members of the Maine State Police computer crimes task force went to Sapiel’s home after determining that an Internet service provider account allegedly being used to access child pornography was registered to someone living at his address. They searched computers in his home and arrested Sapiel in April 2012.

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