Former Deputy Gets 20 Years for Child Porn

     (CN) – A retired master deputy sheriff was sentenced to 20 years in prison for receiving and distributing child pornography from his suburban South Florida home.
     Cameron Dean Bates, an 18-year veteran of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, was sentenced last week. He was also ordered to pay $3,500 restitution.
     “According to evidence presented at trial, investigators discovered that, between December 2010 and June 2012, several Internet protocol (IP) addresses linked to Bates in both St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County were used to download and share child pornography files. The trial evidence showed that a laptop computer recovered during a search of Bates’ home contained numerous images and videos of child pornography, including at least one image depicting a child under the age of 12,” the Department of Justice said.
     Bates had initially been found guilty in 2013, but a panel from Florida’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, concluding that the jury from Bates’ first trial was not properly screened for prejudice against gay people.
     In addition to the child porn files, investigators who searched Bates’ computer had found images of Bates engaging in sexual acts with adult men, and because prosecutors planned on presenting those images as evidence, Bates wanted potential jurors to be screened for their views on homosexuality.
     In vacating the 2013 conviction, the appellate panel wrote that the district court “did not ask any questions that were specific enough to determine whether any of the jurors might harbor prejudices against Mr. Bates based on his sexual relationships” with men.
     However, the outcome of Bates’ second trial was much the same as the first.
     The jury in the retrial returned its verdict in June 2015, finding Bates guilty of four counts of receipt of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
     Bates pleaded not guilty in both trials. He argued that someone else, possibly a friend of his son’s, had used his laptop to access the illegal material.

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