Child pornographer sentenced to 15 years
BOSTON, Jan 04, 2013 (Cape Cod Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Hyannis man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Thursday for soliciting lewd photos and videos from young girls over the Internet.
Kevin McNicol, 24, had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in September to one count of production of child pornography. He was charged earlier last year when investigators found explicit material on his home computer in an examination spurred by a cyber tip.
In addition to the prison sentence, McNicol was ordered to forfeit computer equipment seized during the investigation that was used in the commission of the crime. He also is to serve seven years of supervised release after the prison term.
The sentence is the mandatory minimum for the crime under federal guidelines.
Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, McNicol addressed the court Thursday before he was sentenced.
"I just want to say I'm very sorry for what I've done," he said. "I wasn't aware of the seriousness of what I was doing. It's going to be with me forever, I guess."
In their sentencing arguments, attorneys for both sides framed their cases.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Belf cited the nature of the crimes as well as McNicol's penchant for naming the files he created as evidence.
"This is not sexual curiosity. This is someone who had 92 images of children in sexually explicit acts," she said.
McNicol's attorney, Christopher Skinner, said his client fully accepted responsibility for his crimes and said they were the product of his compulsive behavior and problems with alcohol.
Investigators from the recently formed Cape Cod Computer Crime Unit were in the courtroom. The case was investigated locally by members of the unit.
The investigation began in March 2011, when the website 4chan.org, which allows anyone to upload photos to its message board, filed a tip with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that a user had posted a pornographic image. The photo depicted a young girl -- around 10 years old -- in sexually explicit acts, according to court documents.
The center is a nonprofit group that tracks missing-children cases and works with several law enforcement agencies.
Investigators tracked the Internet Protocol address attached to the photo to a home in Hyannis that McNicol was renting with his wife and best friend. Investigators then subpoenaed the exact address from the Internet service provider, according to court documents.
In May 2011, investigators from the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office and the Barnstable police searched McNicol's laptop and found 92 videos depicting apparently underage girls either nude or in sexually explicit acts, according to court documents. The videos were allegedly captured during video chats between McNicol and as many as 78 victims, according to the records.
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