August 5, 2008

Time Served: Downloader of Child Pornography Avoids Probation

By Anne Jungen, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Aug. 5--A former La Crosse man who admitted downloading sexually graphic videos involving children as young as 2 escaped further time behind bars and probation Monday.

La Crosse County Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez cited Scott Wathen's lack of risk to sexually offend, absence of criminal record, cooperation with law enforcement and compliance while released on a signature bond as factors in her decision to limit his sentence to 40 days already served in the La Crosse County Jail. Wathen, 30, now of Blair, Wis., must register as a sex offender and comply with its conditions.

He pleaded guilty in May to one count of possession of child pornography, while two identical charges were dismissed but could be considered at sentencing.

The sexually explicit videos found on Wathen's computer in February 2007 depicted children, ages 2 to 13, engaged in sexual acts with adults, according to the criminal complaint.

When questioned in April, Wathen admitted he had downloaded and viewed the graphic videos, according to the complaint, despite knowing it was illegal to possess child pornography. He was attempting to delete the videos "because he knew it was wrong," the complaint reported.

Public defender Tom Locante had asked for time served, and La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke had sought only probation as part of the plea agreement.

Anne Jungen can be reached at (608) 791-8224 or [email protected]


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