By Dianne Wood, The Record - Wed Mar 7 2012
A Kitchener man told a probation officer he viewed child pornography “out of curiosity’’ and not because he is attracted to children, a court heard Wednesday.
But a prosecutor and the judge sentencing 38-year-old Michael Keats didn’t buy it.
“The pre-sentence report says he’s not sexually attracted to kids,’’ said prosecutor Tony Sferruzzi. “He just likes to help facilitate the most egregious type of violation we can perpetrate on our children.’’
He said Keats likely just isn’t willing to admit the truth about himself.
Keats pleaded guilty in December to possessing and distributing 1,555 images and 50 videos of boys and girls aged three to 16 being sexually abused. This included being penetrated with foreign objects.
In some cases, the faces of children had been superimposed on those of adult women in pornography.
“It was my great displeasure to have to view samples of these images, the popularity of which, in recent years, has shocked the community,’’ said Justice Michael Epstein. “It really is a crime of unspeakable degradation and depravation.
“It troubles me he told the probation officer his involvement was a matter of curiosity,’’ the judge continued. “It would appear to me that saving 1,555 images and saving 51 movies bespeaks something much more than simple curiosity.’’
However, he said there was no evidence Keats had acted out any of his fantasies or was a pedophile. He sentenced him to one year in jail.
A stocky man, Keats got caught last March after a Waterloo Regional Police officer went online to search for porn users.
Det.-Const. Ted Rhab found 17 suspect files when he connected with Keats’ computer using a file-sharing program.
Information from his internet service provider led to a Kitchener address, where police seized a laptop, hard drives, memory sticks, CDs and DVDs.
Keats was close to being a first-time offender. He has only a minor unrelated record for possessing stolen property in 1991.
He had nothing to say before sentencing.
The judge acknowledged Keats came from a “troubled background’’ and a broken home.
“He was bullied and he suffered from anxiety issues,’’ Epstein said.
His wife was in court for the sentencing.
Keats already started attending a program on cybersex at the suggestion of a probation officer.
While on three years of probation, he must continue this counselling, plus attend programs related to sexual deviancy and child pornography.
He cannot have contact with anyone 16 or under unless he’s with a responsible adult.
The judge prohibited him for life from going to places frequented by children, such as parks, swimming pools and day-care centres, and from seeking work or volunteer placements that would put him in a position of trust to anyone 16 or under.