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What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Ex-professor gets 9 years for having child porn

Ex-professor gets 9 years for having child porn

A former state employee and part-time college professor was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to ni

A former state employee and part-time college professor was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to nine years in prison for distributing about 100 pictures of child pornography on the Internet.

Leonard Gaines, 56, of Albany, had about a dozen friends and family in court with him as U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino issued a sentence that was half of the term recommended by prosecutors but still four years longer than requested by Gaines’ attorney, Mark Sacco, as the judge felt the factors involved in his case required a significant sentence.

On Dec. 19, 2011, Gaines used a file-sharing program to distribute about 100 child pornographic images. In March, investigators acting with a federal search warrant seized two computers that contained many child pornography files. He entered a guilty plea in May.

Sacco had asked for leniency on behalf of his client, who had shown a “lapse in judgment ... [over] a brief period of time.”

“This is the one time in his life that he has done something against the law,” he said of his client.

On his own behalf, Gaines said an unusual level of stress caused him to violate his usual high moral standards and view these materials. He couldn’t identify those stresses in court, but said he is currently seeing a therapist every other week and is in group therapy to ensure he doesn’t repeat the mistake.

“I am committed to never doing anything illegal again,” he read from prepared remarks, which he awkwardly stumbled through.

Gaines stressed that he didn’t understand the ramifications of his illegal actions and that he never physically engaged any minors.

D’Agostino explained the ramifications of his actions by reading a heart-wrenching victim’s statement from a former victim of child pornography. “Your actions resulted in a demand for child pornography,” she said.

D’Agostino acknowledged his clean criminal history before this arrest and that there was no evidence Gaines had sexual contact with a minor, but said his behavior was still disturbing and there was evidence his primary sexual interest is adolescent females.

And while he had obviously done good in his life, as Gaines mentioned his role in the community and as a father, the judge was concerned about what he was capable of if he hadn’t been caught.

Gaines will be subject to supervised release for the rest of his life once he leaves prison.

Gaines was a longtime employee of the Empire State Development Corp., working as a program research specialist at the time of his arrest. He also worked as an adjunct faculty member at SUNY-Empire State College and New School University. But a spokesman for Empire State said he hasn’t served the college since 2010.

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