DAYTON – Today the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals filed an opinion vacating a one-day sentence that the U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed as unreasonably low in a child exploitation case.
Andrew Demma, 41, of Dayton, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to possessing child pornography involving pre-pubescent minors.
According to the Court of Appeal’s opinion, the FBI obtained and executed a search warrant in August 2015 at Demma’s residence and seized several electronic devices from the residence, finding more than 3,600 images and 230 videos of child pornography in Demma’s possession. Many of the images depicted adult men raping and otherwise sexually abusing pre-pubescent girls.
Demma was sentenced in October 2018 to one day in prison (under Bureau of Prison rules, the day on which Demma was processed by the Marshals following his arrest would have constituted the “one day” in prison).
At sentencing, psychologists testifying on behalf of the defense stated Demma’s use of child pornography stemmed from results of combat trauma during deployments with the United States military in Iraq. The Court of Appeals in its ruling specifically noted, however, “that there is no evidence in the record to support the proposition that military veterans suffering from PTSD typically become addicted to child pornography.”
Following sentencing, the government appealed, arguing that the effectively non-custodial sentence was unreasonably low.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals took note of the size and nature of Demma’s child pornography collection and the fact he accessed child pornography on a daily basis by the use of complex software. The Sixth Circuit opinion also emphasized the serious and continuing harm inflicted upon victims of child pornography, and the need for sentences in this area to deter similar offenses.
Today’s opinion vacates Demma’s sentence, and the case has been sent back to the district court for re-sentencing. No re-sentencing date has been set as yet.
Appellate Chief Mary Beth Young argued the appeal on behalf of the United States. Demma’s criminal case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief Laura I. Clemmens and Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Hunt.