A Mason man has pleaded guilty to molesting boys at his mother’s in-home day care at the Cambridge Park II apartment complex in Mason. / Enquirer file photo
Dan Horn reports:
A Mason man deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison for molesting boys at his mother’s in-home day care and sharing photos of the abuse over the Internet, federal prosecutors say.
Prosecutors told a judge this week that Andrew Keith, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in May, is a serial child abuser who would harm others if ever given the chance.
“He used his mother’s day care as a personal hunting ground for victims,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Muncy wrote in her sentencing memorandum to the judge. “Keith produced child pornography. He traded it. He collected it.
“Andrew Keith represents an undeniable danger to society.”
Keith faces at least 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in January. But Muncy asked U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith to sentence him to the maximum 80 years, essentially a life sentence for the 27-year-old Keith.
Keith’s attorney could not be reached for comment and has not yet filed his sentencing recommendation with the court.
Keith admitted in May that he abused and photographed at least three young boys from 2002 to 2003, traded those images with others and collected 600 photos of child pornography on his computer. Prosecutors say he obtained many of those images by bartering with other pedophiles over the Internet, swapping his images of abused children for theirs “as if they were baseball cards.”
Many of Keith’s photos show him abusing the boys or posing them in sexually explicit positions.
Keith’s mother, Teresa Bailey, was charged with two counts of child endangering that accuse her of failing to protect the children from her son. Unlike her son, who faces federal charges, Bailey is charged with felony counts in state court.
Keith also could have been charged in state court, but police and prosecutors are increasingly choosing to use federal child pornography charges when possible. That’s because federal sentencing rules are tough and pornography cases often are easier to prove than abuse cases that require the testimony of young victims.
The number of child pornography cases in the federal courts has climbed from about 940 to 2,250 in less than a decade.
The length of sentences also is on the rise, with 65 percent of those convicted last year receiving at least five years in prison.
Prosecutors say Keith deserves much longer because he is “not representative of the typical child pornographer.” He found and abused his victims, they say, and then subjected them to a lifetime of pain by putting their photos on the Internet.
They say he also threatened one of his victims, prompting the boy to falsely accuse a neighbor child of abusing him instead of Keith.
An evaluation of Keith found that he had been abused as a child, but prosecutors say that does not minimize the harm he has done or the danger he poses.
“There is significant need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant,” Muncy wrote.
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