Former Pennington County deputy gets 30 years for child pornographyRAPID CITY (AP) — A former South Dakota sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for possessing and manufacturing child pornography, a slightly lesser sentence than sought by prosecutors who described him as a predator and a danger to society.
RAPID CITY (AP) — A former South Dakota sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for possessing and manufacturing child pornography, a slightly lesser sentence than sought by prosecutors who described him as a predator and a danger to society.
William Wray, 27, had more than 17,000 images of child porn on his laptop, authorities said. He pleaded guilty in June to six counts of possessing, manufacturing and distributing child porn, and apologized for his actions during his sentencing on Monday. His plea deal with prosecutors called for 35 years behind bars, and Pennington County Deputy State's Attorney Scott Roetzel asked Judge Mary Thorstenson to impose the full term.
Roetzel said Wray knew he had a problem but still put himself in positions where he could have contact with children. Wray was arrested in January after the mother of a 6-year-old boy contacted police. She filed a complaint saying he had photographed the boy naked and showered with him. He was fired shortly before his arrest and eventually was indicted on 28 child porn counts.
Thorstenson told Wray that she was troubled by his decisions to enter law enforcement and volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She also said Wray might have used his position as a Pennington County deputy to gain the trust of families and children.
"You chose a career that put you in a position where you should be held to a higher standard," Thorstenson said. "You knew there was no safe place. The minute you did it, you knew you violated the law."
But the judge also said Wray had expressed remorse and seemed amenable to treatment. Wray's attorney, John Murphy, disputed the number of child porn images in Wray's possession, estimating the number at 9,000 or less, and said his client had accepted responsibility for his crime and had not put the victim and his family through a trial.
Wray must serve at least 25 percent of the 30-year prison term Thorstenson imposed, meaning he will be eligible for parole in 7 ½ years.