Computer Crime Research Center


Man faces 5 years, child porn case

Date: August 18, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Casey Knaupp

A 26-year-old sex offender was sentenced to five years in federal prison Monday for possessing at least 600 images of child pornography on his computer.

Timothy Aaron Rinehart, of Mineola, was sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed by U.S. District Judge William Steger, who assessed a higher punishment than recommended by the probation office.

The probation office set the federal sentencing guideline for Rinehart at three to four years and recommended a four-year prison sentence.

Probation officers perform a pre-sentence investigation on federal cases and set out a sentencing guideline range. Although jurists nearly always stay within the guidelines, they are only recommendations and do not have to be followed. The judges can sentence the defendants beyond or below the recommendation, as long as it stays within the limit of the law.

U.S. Public Defender Wayne Dickey said Rinehart has convictions of not reporting as a sex offender. He said the initial offense happened in Idaho when Rinehart was 12 years old. Authorities apparently waited five years to adjudicate the defendant on the charge and all other offenses were failing to register as a sex offender, he added.

Dickey asked the judge to recommend a treatment program and consider sentencing him to less than four years while Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Baldwin asked that the judge follow the probation office's recommendation.

But Steger said based on Rinehart's criminal history, it was appropriate to sentence him outside of the guideline range in order to protect the community from the defendant. He sentenced him to the maximum five years, ordered that he undergo a sex offender treatment program and serve six months in a halfway house and three years of supervised release after he is released from prison.

Steger also ordered the man to comply with sex registration laws, to have no unsupervised contact with minors and to possess no cameras, computers, recorders, cellular phones with camera capabilities or other recording devices, as well as have no access to the Internet.

Rinehart pleaded guilty to possessing computer discs containing files of young girls and boys, some younger than 12, involved in sexually explicit acts with other children, as well as with adult males, on Dec. 3, 2002.

The three-count indictment also charges him with possessing the pornography on Jan. 30, 2004, and alleges the images include sadistic and masochistic conduct.

Records show that Rinehart was in the Wood County Jail at the time of his October indictment for the federal case, which was investigated with the FBI.

Baldwin sat in for Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Jackson during the sentencing hearing.
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