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Kennewick veteran blames child porn conviction on depression, PTSD

Tri-City Herald - 9/10/2017

Sept. 10--A Kennewick father and Navy veteran blames his "downward spiral into the world of both adult and child pornography" on his failure to get help for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anger, his attorney said.

Peter J. Adams had no felony run-ins with the law until he became immersed in online child porn over a six- to eight-month period.

Now, the 40-year-old man is going to federal prison for 15 years after admitting his sexual chats with a 16-year-old girl led to requests for nude pictures.

Adams pleaded guilty in June to one count of producing child pornography. Three other charges for receiving, possessing and distributing child porn were dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.

A search of his computer and flash drives turned up 133 child porn images, including 61 images of previously identified children by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from known series. The identities of the remaining children in the 72 other images are unknown, court documents said.

On Friday, Adams apologized to all of the victims, whose pictures will forever circulate on the Internet.

His attorney, Alex B. Hernandez III of Yakima, said Adams knows his actions affected not only his own life, but the lives of many others, and that the victims have suffered a loss of innocence and a sense of security.

Judge Sal Mendoza Jr., during the hearing in U.S. District Court in Richland, went along with the recommended sentence, which is the mandatory minimum for Adams' crime.

"When I read the facts, when I look at the conduct here, I'm appalled," said Mendoza.

The judge said the misconduct may be surprising to some given the defendant's 14 years of military service and lack of criminal history.

"I am surprised ... and disappointed," Mendoza said. "If we leave someone like you out in the community, the danger to the community is quite high, frankly."

The investigation into Adams started late last year with a CyberTip from Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about sexually explicit pictures involving kids. The information from Google included email addresses and a phone number for the person associated with the account, which was used to upload the images.

Kennewick police Detective Bill Dramis confirmed that the flagged account belonged to Adams, and on Nov. 17 a search warrant was served at his home.

Adams immediately told investigators they would find child porn on his computer and flash drives.

He admitted talking in person with a minor about having sex, but said it was only a fantasy, according to court documents. He also said he'd been using a messenger app to chat with a teen girl and solicit nude pictures of her different body parts, and had talked with a couple and agreed to travel to have sex with their child, documents said.

Adams never had actual contact with the 16-year-old girl, and did not travel to see the other child.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison L. Gregoire said in a court document that Adams' actions victimized a number of children again, and created a new victim.

Some of the identified child exploitation victims wrote the court that since they don't know who has seen their naked pictures, they're left "wondering if people who look at them too long on the street are staring because they have seen them sexually exposed and violated on the Internet."

Hernandez said his client was unable to deal with the mental and emotional issues he was experiencing in a positive way, and turned to porn instead of seeking counseling.

He said the 15-year sentence is appropriate for Adams, and will give him time to get both sex offender treatment and mental health counseling.

When Adams is released, he will be on court supervision for life and will have to register as a sex offender.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer


(c)2017 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)

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