Ex-Army medic sentenced to 1 day for child porn as doctors cite PTSD as a factor

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An Army medic veteran of two tours of Iraq was sentenced Wednesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to one day in jail after pleading guilty to child pornography that psychologists testified was tied to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Federal prosecutors immediately objected to the sentence for Andrew Demma, 39, who had faced a possible lengthy incarceration after a pre-sentence report recommended at least 6.5 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice said Demma’s case is the rare one fitting the exception for a “significant variance” due to Demma’s law-abiding life, volunteer military service, perceived low risk of re-offending and his seeking of treatment.

Under a relatively new effort to compensate child pornography victims, Demma was ordered to pay $45,000 to nine known victims — $5,000 each — among the 3,600 images and 230 videos including those of adults raping children.

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Rice also ordered Demma to forfeit items, contribute 100 hours of community service, be on supervised release for 10 years and submit to drug testing, treatment and intensive counseling.

At least one psychologist wrote that Demma deals with his PTSD by punishing himself through seeing pain when looking at child pornography, not for sexual gratification.

In a letter included in the prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum, one psychologist noted Demma’s history in which he inadvertently killed children, including a 9-year-old girl with her parents.

“The truth is I don’t know the answers more than anybody else does,” Demma said after a long pause during which he took off his glasses, wiped tears and sniffed.

“I know my actions were my own choice. … What part my past experiences played in my willful behavior I’m not sure. … Not once have I attempted to blame my behavior on my past experiences.”

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In arguing for a custodial sentence, assistant U.S. attorney Laura Clemmens said Demma started viewing child pornography in 2010 and didn’t stop until investigators uncovered a sophisticated dark web presence of child porn in 2015.

Clemmens said it was only after investigators “pierced the veil of a dark web server” that they were able to shed the defendant’s “cloak of anonymity.”

“This is not someone who stumbled upon child pornography,” said Clemmens, who also read partial statements from four child pornography victims or their parents, including one who said children are “not sexual objects or toys. These children are my pride and joy. They are my world,” and added that the parent was “determined to be their advocate.”

“These people are real. Their stories are heartbreaking.”

RELATED: Preble County man sentenced for possessing 4,700 images of child pornography

Rice said child pornography is “a never-ending offense” perpetrated by “sick people.”

Demma said that one previous job included him talking to children who had been sexually abused.

“I wasn’t abused … I can only imagine,” said Demma, who now works at a home improvement store.

“It is a great mixture of feelings — shame, cognitive dissonance — to know that I’ve contributed to the horror of those types of experiences. None of that is lost on me.”

Rice said the one-day sentence was satisfied by the day Demma was processed by the U.S. Marshals.

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