sexual abuse of a child
A Hilltown man is headed to state prison for his second child pornography conviction in two years.
He must register with state police as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Phinney had been on probation for a 2015 child pornography conviction and barred from accessing the internet. The new charges arose when his probation officer confiscated the video game console from his residence after he discovered it was connected to the internet.
According to a criminal complaint, Phinney purchased the gaming system in October 2015 — just two months after Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to four years under county supervision.
A search of the device revealed 29 images depicting sexual abuse of children, some younger than 10, police say. Phinney admitted in August to the new charges.
In court Monday, Phinney told the judge he is addicted to child pornography. He said his addiction started with pornography depicting adults and progressed to images of children.
"As time went on, I needed material that was more and more shocking," Phinney said. "I never want to view child pornography again."
The man assured Finley he had never tried to — nor would he — engage in sexual activity with children, and said he has become religious since he was incarcerated on Jan. 21.
Finley called the case extremely troubling but noted his experience and research indicate most people who view child porn do not act out the sexual conduct depicted and typically stop viewing the material once confronted.
Because of this, he said he generally imposes probationary sentences for child pornography possession — a deal Phinney would not receive this time.
"Your viewing of child pornography helped fund the industry that preys upon children, whether through torture or other means, and forces them to engage in this conduct," the judge said.
After explaining to Phinney that he could lawfully impose a "ludicrous" maximum sentence of more than 300 years, Finley informed the man he still was getting off relatively easy.
"I've cut you a break again. Don't come back," Finley said.