Former Ledyard resident Matthew Wallace was sentenced Tuesday to 100 months in prison for receiving and possessing more than 500 images of child pornography.
Wallace, 32, was arrested in December 2010 and has been detained since March, when a jury in Bridgeport found him guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neeraj Patel and Ray Miller had asked Judge Warren W. Eginton to impose a lengthy prison sentence, noting that "Mr. Wallace was particularly interested in hardcore videos and images of pre-teens, as young as five years old, having sex with adults."
According to the government, on Jan. 19, 2010, a Milford police detective assigned to the Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force logged into a peer-to-peer Internet file-sharing network and downloaded several images of child pornography from an Internet Protocol ("IP") address assigned to Wallace at his Ledyard residence. On May 28, 2010, law enforcement agents conducted a court-authorized search of the residence and seized computers and hard drives.
Forensic examination of items revealed more than 500 images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
"As demonstrated in the victim impact statements submitted to the Court, these horrific images and videos undoubtedly and profoundly impacted the children who were victimized in them," the prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "The defendant's conduct violated the child victims depicted in the images and videos when he first obtained and downloaded them, and then every time he opened and viewed them."
Defense attorney Jonathan J. Einhorn had sought a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, writing in his sentencing memorandum that "for good reason," Congress distinguishes between those who view child pornography and those who create it. He submitted a psychological evaluation of Wallace, who is engaged to a woman, financially supports family members, has no criminal history, has a solid work record, and is at low risk for following through with an offense involving physical contact with children.
Wallace's fiancée, family members and fellow employees had submitted letters of support on his behalf. Wallace himself had written to the court to beg for mercy and said he is "not a monster."
The prosecutors wrote that despite Wallace's claim, his actions spoke otherwise.
"The truth is Mr. Wallace is just like a "monster" who hides in the closets of these children, watching their sexual, emotional, and physical abuse for his own sexual gratification," the sentencing memorandum said.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Milford Police Department. The Connecticut State Police and the Ledyard Police Department assisted.
Wallace will be on federal probation for five years following his release from prison.