Former ABC journalist James Gordon Meek received a six-year prison term on Friday after pleading guilty to charges including transportation and possession of child sexual abuse images and videos, in July. His legal team had asked for the minimum five-year term saying that his war and torture reporting was partly the reason for his habit while the prosecutor asked for the maximum sentence of almost 16 years. A judge gave him a six-year prison term.
Cloud storage provider Dropbox sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center helps companies identify and law enforcement to identify and to prosecute those who exploit children. FBI agents followed the tip and were able to link Meek to the Dropbox account that contained the imagery.
FBI agents searched Meek’s residence and found dozens of images and videos from 2014 that resulted in the filing of the case against the Emmy award winning journalist.
The Friday sentence by Judge Claude Hilton, who was appointed during the Ronald Raegan administration, was hailed by the defense team while the prosecutors failed to get a longer sentence. Meek’s attorney Eugene Gorokhov said that the judge accepted that “Mr. Meek’s worst moments do not define him.”
Meek apologized to his victims as he read a lengthy statement in court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release that the case was part of a nationwide initiative called “Project Safe Childhood.” It also stated that this initiative was “launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
James Gordon Meek was employed by the New York Daily News and was also a senior counterterrorism adviser for the U.S. House Committee of Homeland Security. He joined the Washington bureau of ABC in 2013. He resigned shortly after the raid by federal agents in his home in Virginia from where they collected the imagery and videos. The 53-year-old divorcee is a father of two girls.
Neither ABC, nor James Gordon Meek have released a statement to date after the prison sentence, but many have commented on social media that the sentencing was lenient. Some compared it to Danny Masterson longer sentence for rape and also other cases that also received maximum sentences or close to the maximum sentence.
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