Published October 24. 2012 6:00PM Updated October 25. 2012 11:15AM
Former pediatrician Todd M. Parrilla, who cared for the region’s children by day at his medical practice in Stonington and collected and distributed hundreds of thousands of images of sadistic and masochistic child pornography at night, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant ordered Parrilla, 49, to turn himself in to U.S. Marshals to begin serving his sentence on Jan. 4. She imposed a lifetime of supervised release and lifetime registry as a sexual offender. She also imposed a $10,000 fine.
Prior to his sentencing, Parrilla disclosed that he had been traumatized as a 12-year-old when an older boy at Boy Scout camp sexually abused another camper and forced Parrilla to watch. Parrilla said that incident led to his desire to see sexual images of young boys.
On Wednesday, the judge forced Parrilla to disclose the older boy’s name. Parrilla, who belonged to a Rhode Island troop, named the boy, who he said was two or three years older than he was and weighed at least 200 pounds. Parrilla never disclosed the incident until federal agents arrested him in August 2011 for receiving and distributing child pornography.
He said he learned recently that the boy is dead.
The judge said that Parrilla, who as a doctor claimed to make hundreds of referrals to the state Department of Children and Families of abused and neglected children, never identified the abusive Scout despite his belief that he was “out there victimizing other children.”
“Instead, he chose to support and aid those who engage in the most vile abuse of babies, toddlers and adolescents for his own sexual gratification,” Bryant said.
Parrilla’s arrest had shocked parents of patients at the thriving Westone medical practice as well as his business partner. The partner had applied to the court as a “Jane Doe” to be classified as a victim. She had sought, by way of restitution, to be indemnified from any lawsuits brought against the practice.
She noted nobody had claimed Parrilla abused patients, but 10 families retained attorneys following his arrest. The practice closed in December.
The judge said the partner, who sat in the courtroom with red eyes and declined to comment afterward, did not qualify as a victim under federal law because she was not directly harmed by being depicted in the pornographic images.
According to the federal government, Parrilla had more than 100,000 images of child pornography on his computers and 10,000 videos, some depicting prepubescent children and some containing scenes of sadism and masochism. He stored printed images in gym bags and other containers. His own attorney admitted he hoarded child pornography.
Parrilla came to the authorities’ attention in July 2011, when an undercover law enforcement officer in Kansas City, Mo., logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded 104 images of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Parrilla.
Though he had no prior criminal record, Parrilla faced up to 20 years in prison. The judge imposed the minimum mandatory sentence.
Defense attorney Alan Sobol had called on Parrilla’s relatives, former employees and parents in his bid for a lenient sentence. They said he needs psychiatric help rather than incarceration.
“Our family was stunned by his arrest,” said his mother, Linda Parrilla. “But just as we began to come to terms with that blow, we learned of this horrible incident at Boy Scout camp. How much can we take?”
The mother said her son has never been a threat to anyone.
“He is a victim,” she said.
Sobol argued that Parrilla has been progressing in therapy and has a low risk of reoffending. He said Parrilla had already lost his reputation, his ability to practice medicine and his earning capacity. Parrilla surrendered his medical license in August 2012.
Prosecutor Raymond Miller, tapping the lectern where he stood for emphasis, said the amount of pornography Parrilla possessed was staggering. A father of a victim sent the court a letter saying that because images are traded online, his son would continue to be victimized for the rest of his life.
“I don’t understand how a pediatrician can provide care to children by day and look at night at pictures of the abuse of children,” Miller said.
Parrilla said the incident at the Boy Scout camp had influenced his decision to specialize in pediatrics.
“At some level, at least unconsciously, I was able to help the victims because I was unable to help the victims at camp,” he said.