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Author avoids prison in child porn trial

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Darryl Enriquez
December 2, 2010
— Walter Dunn—author, historian and teacher—faced prison for owning child porn used to scratch a daily sexual itch, but Dunn got a break Wednesday because he is 82 years old.

Dunn, a retired museum curator from LaFayette Township, avoided a prison term, thanks to his advanced age and the lack of a prior criminal record.


Instead, Dunn was placed on 10 years probation and ordered to serve six months in the Walworth County Jail. Dunn can serve jail time with Huber privileges that allow him to spend days at home caring for his wife and nights behind bars. The couple have no children.


Dunn is now a registered sex offender.


When contacted by the Gazette in September after he was charged, Dunn said: "Give me a break. I'm 82 years old."


In court Wednesday, Judge James Carlson, along with prosecuting and defense attorneys, acknowledged they were perplexed at how Dunn, an educated and accomplished man, could lust after computer images of children engaged in sex acts with adults.


The conundrum of Dunn's personality and his age were central themes of the hearing.


Carlson, reading from a presentence investigation report, said Dunn was first seduced by sexual images in magazines, and he graduated to movies and ultimately the Internet.


Dunn used adult porn to satisfy himself sexually and veered into child porn when adult material lost its affect, Carlson said.


Unclear was how seriously Dunn pursued child porn or whether it unknowingly came to him with the adult porn, which is not illegal, Carlson said.


Regardless, Dunn did not delete the illegal images, and he even catalogued them, the judge said. Dunn viewed pornography two hours a day, even after charges were issued in August, Carlson said.


District Attorney Phillip Koss said the irony in Dunn's case is that he catalogued his entire porn collection in the way he would have run a museum.


"While this crime doesn't have a specific victim, children are harmed when they're marketed," Koss told the judge.


Dunn pleaded guilty in September to felony possession of child pornography in exchange for a plea bargain that the district attorney would not ask for a prison sentence.


At the sentence hearing, Dunn declined to speak on his behalf.


"We don't believe prison is needed for Mr. Dunn based on age," defense attorney Brad Lockowicz told the judge. "He acknowledges he needs counseling and treatment to get to the root of the issue of why this occurred."


Dunn was arrested June 2 for having six images of children among the 2,000 CDs and 400 VHS tapes of adult pornography found at his rural home.


Dunn has written more than a dozen history books about World War II, Walworth County and the American frontier. He is a retired museum curator who once worked at the State Historical Society Museum.


An Elkhorn computer technician discovered the child porn images while he was diagnosing one of Dunn's computers for an operating problem.


When the technician saw the images of naked children on the computer and found a pornographic disk in the disk drive, he contacted police, according to a criminal complaint. Dunn showed investigators his collection and told them he was addicted to smut.


Carlson also imposed and stayed a three-year prison term, which could be enforced if Dunn violates his probation. Dunn also was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay a $500 penalty for each of the six child porn pictures found on his computer.



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