A jazz pianist pleads guilty to child-porn charges – and tries to explain 

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Third: If the slow movement of American societal evolution when it comes to this delicate issue persistently remains stalled at focusing on punishing instead of curing, let's better educate the general populace that looking at naked images of minors will, without exception, get you a federal prison term of at least ten years.

His finishes by requesting that friends write letters to the judge in support of his character (but advises them to "not grumble about our legal system"). Twenty letters would be helpful; 100 "should definitely make a difference."

Finally, he issues an invitation to a going-away party at Wilder's house. It is really going to be a lot of fun and I would love to see you and yours.

Have Great Days Always~~Bill


"It's not unusual for defendants to try and have family members or friends or work associates, or even pastors, write letters of support for them to the court," says Don Ledford, public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office. But, Ledford says, it's unusual for a defendant to plead guilty without a plea agreement. "I'm assuming he's hoping to receive some credit for accepting responsibility."

At the very least, Laursen will see five years. Each of the five counts of receiving child pornography over the Internet carries a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years; judges have the discretion to impose those sentences consecutively or concurrently. The count of possession carries a maximum of 10 years but no minimum.

Ledford says the agents who worked on Laursen's case are prohibited from discussing it.

But others who investigate child pornography say it's anything but a victimless crime, especially when the images depict children in sexual situations.

"Every time one of these images is traded, it's a crime-scene photograph of a victim who was raped. Every time that picture is downloaded and looked at, that's re-victimizing that child," says John Shehan, director of the Exploited Children Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia. His office serves as a clearinghouse for information received through a Web tips line — cybertipline.com — set up in 1998 for people to register reports about online crime against children. Of the more than 706,000 tips he has received since the tips line was established, he says roughly 89 percent have been related to child pornography. Many depict girls in violent, abusive situations, in photos that have been taken against their will. "These aren't Playboy types of images people think of," he says.

"The trend in recent years has been for victims younger and younger, and the abuse more graphic. There's a trend towards the pre-verbal, so the victims can't identify accusers."

Laursen insists that he would never harm an underage girl.

"In the world I deal with, in the waking world where I'm walking around, the more you're involved with pornography online, the more safe and separate from the real world it seems," he says. "I know someone's being exploited at the initial point, though. The stuff I was looking at was not sexual activity. I know there was some on there, but I didn't download that intentionally and I stand by that. Anyone who surfs porn knows what you download isn't always what you think it is. And even if you delete it, once it's on your hard drive, it's there.

"It bothers me, the thought that I'm becoming yet another statistic," Laursen says. "This country is so good at putting people away."


Teri Wilder guesses that about 50 people showed up for Laursen's goodbye celebration at her Brookside home.

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