In the state of Indiana, where the rate of child abuse is double that of the national average, a judge has decided not to punish child pornography with jail time, according to Indianapolis Star.

More than 200 images and videos of child pornography were found in the possession of a school volleyball coach, yet he will serve absolutely no jail time.

Steven Payne, a 55 year old coach at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, first drew the attention of police back in 2016, Indianapolis Star’s Dana Hunsinger Benbow reports.

Police discovered an image that appeared to be child pornography through an online chatroom. Police linked the activity to Payne’s IP address triggering the investigation.

Finally by November of 2018, a warrant was granted to search Payne’s office at the Athletics/ Military Science Building on the school’s campus. Police located several laptops, two thumb drives as well as other electronic devices. Hunsinger Benbow further reports that two thumb drives were located in a backpack- one contained 26 videos of child pornography and the other more than 120 explicit images and videos.

Payne admitted to police that the media was of girls “possibly under the age of 18” according to an affidavit by Metropolitan Police Detective Kurt Spivey.

Police charged Steven Payne with 11 felonies including one level 5 charge of possession of child pornography with an aggravating factor. At least one of the files Payne possessed was exploitative enough to warrant a sentence of up to 31 years in prison just by itself.

Payne’s attorney, Dorothy Maryan, negotiated a deal in which the sex offender plead guilty to the level 5 felony in exchange for the remaining 10 being dropped.

Michael Leffler, spokesperson for the prosecutor, told Indianapolis Star “the state argued that the defendant should serve his sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction. Ultimately, the court imposed a four-year suspended sentence followed by four years of probation.”

Marion Superior Court Judge Grant W. Hawkins defended the decision to Indianapolis Star, claiming that “This gives me control over him for a longer period of time… The plea agreement capped initial incarceration at two years… With a two-year sentence, he’s out in 18 months or less.”

While Payne is serving just four years of probation, he is prohibited from accessing the internet either at home or at work.

He may no longer be employed by a school nor work as a coach. The University had already terminated him from his position where he had worked for 22 seasons. He also must submit to polygraph tests as well as searches.

Payne registered as a sex offender on the same day as his sentencing, according to Hunsinger Benbow.

Judge Hawkins felt that Payne should be treated more leniently that an individual who had created the pornography.

He said “With possession, there is a separator between him and the victim,” he said. “With the other, the victim is in the room. That’s a whole different deal.”

However the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Director of Outreach Alicia Kowakiewicz feels that penalties for all involved in child pornography should be more serious. She says “There is this fallacy, this belief that viewing images and videos is a victimless crime and that is absolutely not true.”

Kowakiewicz was herself a victim of child pornography when she was abducted as a young teen. According to Indianapolis Star, the now-advocate was not only kidnapped but shackled, abused and raped on film.

She feels that Payne, is likely to become a repeat offender due to the light sentencing and says “He can go start a new life.”

That’s exactly what Payne has now requested to do. Payne has petitioned the judge to allow him to fulfill the remainder of his probation in sunny Florida and the judge has agreed.

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Last week, we shared a story out of Michigan about a New York man convicted of heading up a child pornography ring who was beaten and stabbed to death by fellow inmates in a Michigan correctional facility.

Christian Maire was identified as the deceased inmate. According to reports, Maire was recently sentenced to 40 years in prison following a conviction of child pornography charges. 

Officials say that on Wednesday, Maire was involved in an “altercation” with seven other inmates at Milan Detention Center.

40-year-old Christian Maire was reportedly killed in a vicious fight with other inmates. (Milan Detention Center)

 

The Detroit News reported that the autopsy found that Maire was stabbed and struck in the head repeatedly.

Very few details have been publicized about the fight, but authorities did say that Maire’s death was being investigated as a homicide. Three other inmates were treated for serious injuries stemming from the scrap and two staff members reported minor injuries as well.

Maire was recently sentenced to the 40-year punishment by a U.S. District Court in Detroit. Prosecutors said he was the “mastermind” of an “egregious crime syndicate” that coerced vulnerable girls to engage in sexual activity on a website. Maire pleaded guilty to the charges he was accused of.

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Maire and his ring “shattered so many lives.” (Lembagai KITA)

 

“They hunted girls. They lied to girls. They manipulated girls. … And they did so repeatedly, for years, victimizing more than 100 girls, only a fraction of whom have been positively identified,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said in a court filing.

Maire reportedly denied being the ringleader yet confessed to the court that he had “shattered so many lives.”

“I never thought I could sink this low. I apologize to all of my victims,” Maire said.

WISH 8 TV reported that men are usually housed at the Milan detention center while awaiting trial, sentencing or a permanent prison assignment after being sentenced in federal court. It’s on the grounds of the low-security Milan federal prison, they noted.

Christian Maire was from Binghamton, New York. He was 40-years-old.