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Kingsport man receives 30-year sentence on child porn charge

June 23rd, 2008 12:00 am by Matthew Lane



GREENEVILLE — A Kingsport man who downloaded more than 800 images of child pornography from the Internet received a 30-year prison sentence in federal court on Monday.


Jimmy Sprague, 61, appeared in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Monday and was sentenced to 360 months in prison, ordered to be on probation for life and fined $39,300. Sprague faced a sentence of 15 to 40 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Sprague pleaded guilty in September 2007 to one count of knowingly receiving child pornography via computer. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the second count against Sprague — knowingly possessing a computer containing an image of child pornography — was dismissed.


Prosecutors say starting in late 2003 and continuing until 2005, Sprague downloaded images that contained child pornography from the Internet and saved them on his personal computer. A forensic analysis of Sprague’s computer found more than 800 images of child pornography.


Court records state Sprague saved the images for his own personal sexual gratification, and there is no evidence he was involved in distributing the images to anyone.


Sprague’s attorney, Tim Moore, wrote in a sentencing memorandum that given Sprague’s age and medical condition, a 15-year prison sentence would certainly appear to be a life sentence. Should Sprague survive such a lengthy incarceration term of 15 years given his many medical problems, he will be in his late 70s and less likely to recidivate, Moore wrote in the memorandum.


However, prosecutors argued otherwise, writing in a sentencing memorandum that Sprague is a 61-year-old pedophile with a long and established history of sexual obsession and sexual deviancy, as well as a history of feigning mental illness, prevarication and non-acceptance of responsibility for his anti-social behavior.


“There is no hope of deterrence for the defendant, who has engaged in a pattern of sexually deviant behavior for most of his 61 years,” the memorandum states.


The memorandum goes further and states Sprague has three prior convictions for child sexual exploitation offenses, has sexually molested children, women and men, and has used child pornography to enable, affirm and validate his deviant sexual behavior.


According to the plea agreement, Sprague was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor in Loudon County in 1992 and aggravated sexual battery and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in Knox County in 1993.


Sprague is the fourth man to plead guilty to child pornography charges stemming from an investigation in May 2006 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The NCMEC received several cyber tip reports about suspected child pornography images uploaded to a Yahoo Photos Web page.


Joseph Taylor, of Greeneville, received a 97-month prison sentence in November 2006 after pleading guilty to possession of a computer containing an image of child pornography. Taylor described his desire to look at nude pictures of children as “dark” and “wrong.”


Federal agents discovered more than 600 images and 150 video clips of child pornography on two computers owned by Taylor.


Craig L. Bevil, of Kingsport, received a 327-month prison sentence in December 2006 after pleading guilty to receipt of child pornography. An investigation determined that Bevil was the owner of a Yahoo Photos Web page and that John K. Foster II of Johnson City was posting child pornography to the Internet.


Foster received a 120-month prison sentence in January after pleading guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. Federal agents found more than 17,500 images and 535 videos of child pornography on Foster’s computer.



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