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Sun, Aug. 18

Former PUSD teacher gets 10 years for viewing child pornography

PRESCOTT ­ Former Prescott Unified School District teacher James Lynn Anderson will be 70 years old when he completes a 10-year prison sentence he received on Tuesday for viewing child pornography on a school computer.

His release from prison will continue with lifetime probation under the sex offender terms.

The 60-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 15 or four counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 15.

The charges stem from images that the Prescott Police retrieved from Anderson's school computer after a Granite Mountain Middle School student spotted him viewing the pictures.

Anderson expressed his remorse before Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lindberg summarized the reasons he was imposing a mitigated term of 10 years.

"What I did was wrong," Anderson said. "It was a stupid mistake on my part. I apologize to the Prescott Unified School District for what I did. I will spend the rest of my life wondering why I did what I did."

He also thanked his family and friends ­ who filled the courtroom and sent a hundred letters to Lindberg before the sentencing ­ for their support.

Listing a number of aggravating factors, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Bill Hughes asked the court to sentence Anderson to a presumptive term.

He said the state has identified a young victim between the age of 6 and 7, who was depicted in one of the images the defendant admitted to viewing. The state submitted her statement to the court.

Hughes said she continues to suffer emotionally because "people continue to look at these pictures and trade them."

Anderson's attorney, Billy Hicks, said if his client serves more than a year or two in prison, it would be an injustice although no one disregards what he had done.

His said he has never seen the outpouring of community support as he has seen it in Anderson's case.

Lindberg said that the court is bound by the sentencing structure the Legislature provided. He noted that the punishment for viewing two child pornography images is more severe than the punishment for a number of violent crimes including second-degree murder, rape or aggravated assault.

Lindberg said in deciding his sentence he considered, among other things, the emotional harm to the victims, and found that it exists long after the production of those images.

He said the defendant did not share the images with anyone nor benefit economically from it, but the number of images retrieved suggests that he had viewed them over a prolonged period.

"This was something that was searched out by the defendant," he said.

Contact the reporter at mburic@prescottaz.com

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