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Ex-Law Student Sentenced in Child Porn Case
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A former law student Robert A. McDonald was sentenced today to a year in a halfway house for possessing child pornography.

McDonald, 25, dodged a stiffer sentence in federal court after he made a teary plea for leniency, and told a judge he deeply regretted looking at pictures of young children being sexually abused on the Internet.

McDonald was in his second year at Western New England Law School when FBI agents raided his apartment and found illegal pornography on his computer. In July, he admitted to one count of possession under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

  
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Under advisory federal sentencing guidelines, McDonald faced a minimum of 24 months in prison. US District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor told the defendant that judges are under increasing pressure to hand down onerous penalties to anyone involved in the distribution of child pornography – particularly over the Internet, where it proliferates.

“There is no question that Congress wants us to clobber child pornographers,” Ponsor said. “Sentences have been ratcheted up and up and up, and messages to judges have gotten louder and louder and louder.”

According to court filings, McDonald was a standout student who made the Law Review, was engaged to be married and aspired to hold public office when agents raided his house.

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