[Stop-traffic] News/US: Teacher In Child Sex Sting Sentenced

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Teacher In Child Sex Sting Sentenced
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 11:14:11 EDT

Teacher In Child Sex Sting Sentenced
By Joe Garner
Denver Rocky Mountain News, July 22, 2000

A veteran North High School math teacher accused of importing Mexican boys
to Denver for sex will serve 27 months behind bars, followed by three
years' supervised parole and registration as a sex offender.

Michael Charles Smith, 51, who pleaded guilty May 5 to four federal
felonies, was sentenced Friday to the miniumum under federal guidelines.

Smith pleaded guilty in May to three counts of harboring an illegal alien
and one child-pornography charge, which involved 16 pictures of boys
transmitted over computers. As part of Smith's plea agreement to admit
guilt, Denver U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham also dismissed an
original charge of smuggling a Mexican boy into the United States for sex.

At Friday's sentencing, Smith portrayed himself as a member of a respected
family of teachers who is "as opposed to child pornography as anyone in
this courtroom."

"I'm amazed to find myself here," the tall, graying Smith told the judge in
a controlled voice.

He accepted responsibility for his crimes, but he did not apologize for
abusing the boys.

He described the anguishing loss of reputation, health and income he has

Admitting he has damaged himself, his elderly parents and other family
members, "I guess, at this time, I'm asking for the mercy of the court,"
Smith said.

Prosecutor Michele Horn described Smith as a person "who has led two lives
for a long time. His remarks today indicate he is still in denial."

Smith was identified in a federal investigation of child sex and
pornography rings in the United States and Mexico. The ring maintained a
vacation house in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco, where pedophiles
engaged in sex with boys who lived at a nearby orphanage or on the streets,
authorities said.

Defense attorney Craig Truman described Smith "as a dedicated public
servant who has been tormented by his sexual orientation for most of his
life. The judge also ordered a $6,000 fine and restricted Smith from
unsupervised access to computers.

U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland said Smith's sentence was appropriate, both as
punishment and as a warning to others tempted to abuse children sexually.

"The exploitation of children is a scourge on the community," Strickland said.
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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