BANGOR, Maine — A 62-year-old Madison man who admitted possessing child pornography even after he learned he was under investigation for having the images on a computer was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to five years and 10 months in federal prison.
Lester Brown pleaded guilty in March to possessing hundreds of images of known child pornography victims, according to court documents.
In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Brown to five years of supervised release.
“The images I viewed that you viewed were abhorrent,” Woodcock said. “Young children in our society need to be protected. They have to be able to grow up in their own times with their peers and learn about life from people their own age. What these pictures reflect is the destruction of their innocence. For most of us viewing those images — they are simply stomach-turning.”
Brown, who has no criminal record, came to the attention of Somerset County authorities in February 2012, according to court documents. Information about what alerted the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office to his activities is not included in court documents. He admitted to investigators that he had downloaded child pornography.
In May 2012, Brown was charged with drug trafficking in Somerset County Superior Court after he twice allegedly sold his hydrocodone, for which he had a prescription, Woodcock said Tuesday. That case is pending but most likely will be resolved by the end of the month.
FBI agents visited Brown in October 2012 to deliver a letter saying he was the target of a federal investigation, according to court documents. During that interview, Brown admitted to purchasing a new computer after his was seized the previous February. He also said that he had downloaded more child pornograpy.
Brown said that he thought he was in online chats with adult women but when they sent him photos of themselves, he realized they were younger.
“I was curious, I guess,” he told Woodcock.
Brown, who has been on disability since 1999 due to health problems, faced up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guideline range, the recommended sentence was between seven years and three months and nine years in prison.
Woodcock did not explain why he went below the guideline in imposing the sentence.