Delavan man gets 90 days in child porn case

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Kevin Hoffman
Friday, September 9, 2011
— A former commander with the Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years of probation Thursday after pleading guilty this summer to possession of child pornography.

Michael Curry, 55, of Delavan told Walworth County Judge John Race he was “asking for mercy” during a 15-minute statement prior to Race’s decision.

Curry, who spent more than 40 years with the state’s volunteer air patrol, accepted a plea agreement in July and was found guilty of one count of possessing child pornography. He initially faced five counts of the felony charge.

An agreed sentence wasn’t part of Curry’s plea. Attorneys were free to argue for an appropriate punishment, and the felony carried a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Curry also must register as a sex offender and undergo psychological treatment. His attorney, Jeffrey Murrell, said his client already has completed three treatments for what Curry referred to as a “porn addiction” he had three years ago.

Curry conceded he looked at pornography but continued to dispute he knowingly viewed any pictures or videos of minors.

“I really did not like who I was at that time,” Curry said. “It was very dark … I don’t know how to describe just how horrible it made me feel to be hiding, like I was hiding in a dark little corner, feeding an addiction.”

Police found the files on Curry’s home computer after executing a search warrant at his home in September 2009. A friend of Curry’s said in a 42-page statement to the court the images accidentally made their way on to the computer’s hard drive after she downloaded a toolbar.

District Attorney Phillip Koss said experts believed the likelihood of that scenario was marginal. He also pointed to emails from known pornography sites found on Curry’s hard drive confirming a paid subscription using Curry’s credit card.

“Clearly there is access more than just a toolbar, more than just mere surfing—somebody using Mr. Curry’s name, his computer, his email account and credit card under his name to purchase child pornography,” Koss said.

“I think that flies in the face of what the defendant has claimed.”

Race agreed the nature of the crime is disturbing, pointing out that at least one photo included a child in diapers.

Five letters—one from a victim—were submitted to Race condemning the acts, while Murrell said nearly a dozen were written by Curry’s friends and colleagues in his defense.

Race read from two letters, one of which was from a young girl who was raped and beaten by her father when she was 10 years old. Her father filmed the abuse and made those available online.

“The ‘Vicki’ letter put flesh to the issue,” Race said. “The letter gives meaning to those terrible pictures.”

Curry was given three weeks to turn himself in to serve his 90-day jail sentence.

Last updated: 6:23 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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