BANGOR, Maine — At his sentencing Monday, Dana Wilson continued to deny he downloaded child pornography despite his conviction and said the publicity around the case has left him “broken,” financially devastated and alienated from his children.
The well-known former disc jockey was sentenced at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 2½ years in prison with all but nine months suspended for possession of sexually explicit material.
“I’ve always told people that this case is like riding through a tunnel with no light at the end,” Wilson, 63, of Brewer told Superior Court Justice Ann Murray, shortly before she imposed the sentence. “It’s been an unbelievable three years.”
The investigation that led to Wilson’s indictment 14 months ago by the Penobscot County grand jury, began in 2011. Brewer police Sgt. Jay Munson went to Wilson’s home on Feb. 14, 2011, after learning from the group Internet Crimes Against Children someone with an IP address at the home where Wilson lived had received a video known to portray child pornography, according to testimony.
Wilson’s computers were seized, and child pornography was found on both of them, the judge concluded when she announced her verdict July 1, after a two-day, jury-waived trial in June.
Monday was the first time Wilson, who did not take the stand in his own defense, has spoken about the case.
“Little did I think that I’d be here today in front of you, your honor, defending myself,” Wilson told Murray. “I’m broken, you honor. I’ve lost just about everything except my parents’ love and a few friends. I have an ex-wife and, more than likely, ex-children. I doubt that I’ll ever see my children again.”
Wilson said he never told police that his son might have downloaded child pornography on his computer but simply answered a police officer’s question about who might have been able to access his computers. The former disc jockey said Monday that the media had failed to report that information.
He also said his disc jockey and lawn care businesses failed after he was indicted June 27, 2012. Wilson also told Murray that many people, including prominent area business owners, would have come to court to support him were it not for the nature of the charge.
Wilson originally was scheduled to be sentenced last month. Murray allowed a four-week continuance so Wilson could care for his elderly parents in Florida.
Tracy Collins, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, appeared in court Monday for Deputy District Attorney Michael P. Roberts, who was not able to attend the sentencing hearing. She recommended the former disc jockey be sentenced to four years in prison with all but one year suspended and two years of probation.
The nine-month sentence will allow Wilson to be incarcerated at the Penobscot County Jail. Sentences longer than nine months must be served in a prison operated by the Maine Department of Corrections.
Collins told the judge that Wilson should serve a year in prison because he did not accept responsibility for his crimes, showed no remorse for his actions and no recognition of or empathy for the victims, the children in the video. She described Wilson’s allocution as “selfish.”
“In his statement he mentioned how this case has affected him and did not mention once how others have been affected by this case,” Collins said outside the courthouse at an impromptu press conference. “Certainly the victims who were depicted in the video have been affected, but also his family, his loved ones have been affected by this and he did not apologize to a single one of them.”
Collins also said that Wilson’s defense tactic at trial to point to his son as the person who may have downloaded the child pornography should be considered an aggravating factor by Murray.
Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor urged the judge to sentence Wilson to probation rather than time behind bars.
Tzovarras said that Wilson’s lack of any criminal history, his past contributions to the community, his age — Wilson will turn 64 on Friday — and his need to care for his aging parents were reasons to sentence him to probation. The defense attorney also pointed to studies that have concluded first-time offenders in possession of child pornography cases are highly unlikely to reoffend.
Outside the courthouse, Tzovarras addressed Wilson’s statements to the judge about his son.
“Since Mr. Wilson went to trial, we’ve maintained that he did not commit this offense,” the defense attorney said outside the courthouse. “Our position was that Mr. Wilson was not the person who downloaded this material and in order to give him a fair and vigorous defense, we had to suggest other possible sources of the material.”
In sentencing Wilson, Murray said that she had not considered decisions about defense strategy at his trial. She also found no aggravating factors. As mitigating factors, she cited Wilson’s lack of criminal history, his history of community involvement and his care of his elderly parents.
Wilson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012, a month before he was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury, for his basketball feats at Bangor’s Husson College, now Husson University, where he graduated in 1974. That honor was revoked May 29, 2013, by the hall’s board of directors, according to a previously published report.
In addition to prison time, Murray sentenced Wilson to four years of probation.
He will remain free on $500 cash bail pending an appeal of his conviction and sentence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
If the state’s high court upholds Murray’s decisions, Wilson would be given a date to report to the Penobscot County Jail to serve the sentence.
If his conviction were to be overturned, Wilson could be granted a new trial or the case could be thrown out. He most likely would be resentenced if the justices found Murray’s reasoning in deciding what sentence to impose flawed.
Wilson’s appeal is expected to take at least a year to resolve.
He faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the Class C crime. Wilson, who has no prior criminal record, will be required to register for life as a sex offender.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.