O'Keefe gets prison sentence in kiddie porn case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

O'Keefe gets prison sentence in kiddie porn case

Albany-- A former high school teacher will spend 17.5 years in prison for distributing child porn. The defense still maintains that 38-year-old Michael O'Keefe was trying to catch child pornographers.

Michael O'Keefe got mad this morning, when Prosecutors said he had logged onto the G.B.I.'s Website for registered sex offenders. Prosecutors say the former Lee County High School math teacher was looking for others interested in child molestation.

O'Keefe told the Judge he did not want to contact them. He wanted to stop them.

O'Keefe stood before Judge Louis Sands wearing a red jail suit, and leg irons. He fidgeted back and forth, as prosecutors said he was evil, deserving tough punishment.

O'Keefe told the Judge "I do feel bad about some of the things that I created, as they were used by others for nefarious purposes. I did not foresee that."

But Judge Louis Sands called the Internet websites O'Keefe set up and the child porn he distributed "As despicable and disgusting a subject as I have ever seen."

Sands said the children in the pictures were victims who "For the rest of their lives will know that their photos will show up in some of the worst, disgusting places ever."

After he was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison, O'Keefe's attorney Pete Donaldson said he feels good about their appeal chances. "There are very strong issues on appeal, both in terms of the evidence and how the evidence was presented."

O'Keefe told his wife "It will be all right" as they hugged, before he was led away.

Donaldson said "He needs to be a government agent to show them how to set up a sting operation, which is exactly what he did in this case. Is he set up a sting operation that ultimately went over the top. He stepped over the line, and did exactly what he was after people about doing."

In about three weeks O'Keefe will be transferred from the Dougherty County jail to federal custody. He will probably be sent first to the Atlanta Penitentiary for assessment, and then transferred to another facility.

Donaldson is appealing to the 11th circuit court of appeals in Atlanta for a new trial.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com

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