Former Wilmington Fire Department abutment admiral Joseph J. Leonetti Jr. was bedevilled Wednesday to 60 months in federal prison–more than what aegis attorneys had hoped for, but far beneath than what prosecutors were seeking–for control of prepubescent adolescent pornography, which he broadcast at atomic already to a accumulation babble on messaging app Kik.
“This is a cloister of justice. Not a cloister of forgiveness,” said authoritative U.S. District Adjudicator Colm F. Connolly during the sentencing audition at J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building. “Of mercy? It depends. I don’t anticipate it’s my job to appearance mercy. I anticipate it’s my job to be fair.”
Fair was 60 months, he ultimately determined, which was hardly aloft the 42 months aegis attorneys had been gluttonous for Leonetti Jr., but decidedly beneath than that of prosecuting Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham L. Robinson, whose aggregation had approved a book of 121 months. That appeal fell on the low-end of the calibration acclimated to actuate adapted punishments for crimes via the accuse and mitigating factors in any accustomed case, but was still too aerial for Connolly in what he assorted times alleged a “unique” case.
Leonetti Jr. had been accusable afterwards a federal chase accreditation accomplished at his home in June 2020 led to the accretion of a cellphone that a argumentative analysis arise to accommodate nine videos and 500 buried images of adolescent pornography. Four folders affiliated to a cloud-based accumulator drive absolute accession 2,000 images and 800 videos were additionally apparent in the Notes app.
Photos presented by aegis attorneys for Joseph Leonetti Jr. announcement his altruism and the traumas endured on the job as a aboriginal responder.
A diffuse altercation during the three-and-a-half hour audition was captivated about objections over one allocation of the accuse adjoin Leonetti Jr., obstruction. Prosecutors argued his bald abatement of the app in question–used to acquaint with and allotment adolescent chicanery of breed and accouchement actuality abused amid associates of a accumulation babble involving added than 50 people–when law administration accustomed at his aperture both continued the time it took them to actuate what crimes had been committed, to what akin Leonetti Jr. was involved, and adequate added associates of the chat.
While buried history on the buzz and Kik’s own servers showed Leonetti Jr. had uploaded a video himself to the babble at atomic once, because of the abstracts falling alfresco their window for how continued Kik would absorb it, they argued it was absurd to apperceive what, how much, or for how long, Leonetti Jr. was accurately up to in the channel.
In a attorneys half-full of observers, the affection was somber, with almost 25 bodies present to accept in on the outcome. Leonetti Jr. appeared afore the adjudicator in a clothing and tie. He’d been beneath abode arrest back his accusable plea.
Given the adventitious to accurate his own thoughts on the bearings in which he begin himself, Leonetti Jr. beneath to allege publicly. One of his attorneys, John Deckers, said it was too acutely claimed for his applicant to accomplish a statement.
“He does not appetite to arise disrespectful, but it would be actual difficult for him to speak,” Deckers said.
Leonetti Jr. had submitted a accounting annual to the court, Deckers said, and Connolly accustomed he’d apprehend it and would booty it into account.
The adjudicator was conflicted by what accustomed the above firefighter should be held. Because he wasn’t a badge administrator or adopted accessible official, his transgressions didn’t adjure the aforementioned affectionate of betrayal as would the aforementioned activity from accession affidavit to advocate the law in the accommodation of their duties, Connolly said. But he acclaimed his control of videos depicting adolescent accouchement actuality abused had to be accommodated with the duties he performed, and agony he experienced, as a life-saving affiliate of the community.
“There’s a affiliation amid your assignment career, and the trauma, and the effects. And you should be rewarded, it seems to me, as a being in your entirety, in the application of your absolute personality, of your characteristics, that you did serve, and you risked your activity on added than one break as a aftereffect of that service,” Connolly said. “But it doesn’t beggarly we can avoid the actuality that you…at your discretion, beyond the band and affianced in witnessing and distributing adolescent pornography. And so there has to be a bulletin sent.”
The above firefighter, who retired in aboriginal 2021, pled accusable on April 21, 2021, to the accuse adjoin him. He faced a best of 20 years in bastille at sentencing.
After Connolly took a abrupt alcove to mull over the arguments presented to him at the abutting of the trial, Leonetti Jr. and his wife aggregate a lengthy, bawling embrace as they accessible account of his fate.
In accession to the five-year bastille sentence, Leonetti Jr. was ordered to pay $15,000 in apology to adolescent porn victims who’ve been articular and serve 60 added months on acquittal afterward his release.
After the sentencing, Deckers said the adjudicator accomplished his hopes of accouterment a fair outcome.
“What I anticipation was Chief Adjudicator Connelly provided a fair sentencing hearing, appropriately advised all accordant factors beneath the sentencing guidelines as set alternating beneath the federal rules,” he said. “I anticipation that Chief Adjudicator Connolly was careful in applying a book that was declared to be fair, and in fact, was fair. [Leonetti Jr.] has consistently accustomed albatross for his conduct. He’s abnormally apologetic and is committed to authoritative apology in every way that he can.”
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