Subscribe for 17¢ / day

A former Bureau of Indian Affairs employee who admitted receiving obscene materials on his work computer will spend more than two years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Wednesday sentenced Marvin Beartusk, 51, of Billings, to two years and three months in prison, which was the low end of the guideline range.

"I know what I did was very wrong," Beartusk said. "I take full responsibility. I hurt a lot of people in my life - my family, my friends, people that I love very much. I've caused a lot of pain and sorrow. I'd just like to apologize to them for that."

The judge denied a request from Mark Werner, assistant federal defender, to depart downward from the sentencing guidelines. Werner argued that Beartusk's behavior fell outside the normal conduct of child pornography offenders on which the sentencing guidelines were based.

Werner said an evaluation by Michael D. Sullivan, a clinical social worker at South Central Treatment Associates, concluded that Beartusk was at low risk to re-offend and that he was capable of being treated in the community rather than while incarcerated.

Sullivan testified that compared with other child pornography offenders he has treated, Beartusk had a less severe involvement.

However, when questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia Hurd, Sullivan said that Beartusk viewed child porn images on Internet sites and that he "surfed" Web sites rather than collected images from the Internet. Beartusk was computer savvy enough to find pornography sites and visited them two to three times a week for about a year, he said.

Hurd objected to any sentencing departure, saying Beartusk pleaded guilty in January to a superseding indictment of receiving obscene materials on his work computer and that his conduct should be viewed in comparison to other cases involving that charge, not to cases involving charges of possessing child pornography. Beartusk pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea agreement.

Cebull dismissed the original indictment, which charged Beartusk with four counts of receiving and possessing child pornography on BIA computers.

Hurd said earlier that the FBI and BIA began an investigation in January 2001 regarding the receipt of obscene material found on a BIA work computer. Beartusk was a BIA employee and has several computers at his desk. Investigators seized Beartusk's computers and found various obscene materials on them in the form of images received through the Internet from an interactive computer service. The items were received in 2000 and 2001.

When questioned, Beartusk admitted that he had been receiving the material over the Internet. The plea agreement said some of the material involved children.

0
0
0
0
0