The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

September 25, 2013

'No easy answers' for judge in porn case

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

MERCER — Sentencing child pornography offenders is difficult because there is no definitive way to know how big a hammer to hit them with so they get the point that it is not appropriate to view child porn, said Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John.

“They’re are no easy or right answers, probably,” the judge said.

Kyle D. Kimmel presents an even tougher dilemma because he also is addicted painkillers along with porn.

“One can impact upon the other,” St. John said. “Using alcohol or drugs can prevent you from controlling the other. There is a constant need in your life to hold both of those in check.”

A related worry is keeping those like Kimmel from progressing beyond viewing child pornography to acting out their fantasies on children, he said.

“Everybody has impulses and urges,” St. John said. “The issue is whether you act on them. It’s an issue of control.”

Kimmel, 27, of 809 N. Buhl Farm Drive, Hermitage, pleaded guilty July 8 to a charge of sexual abuse of children for possessing child porn, and a count of criminal use of a computer.

Hermitage police charged Kimmel after state police notified them that a trooper using a file-sharing program had identified a computer using the internet Sept. 6, 2012, that was sharing kiddie porn.

State police tracked down the user’s internet provider address and name, and Hermitage police seized Kimmel’s computer on Sept. 24, 2012. The computer contained 37 video files of child porn, police said.

The state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined Kimmel is not a sexually violent predator, which would have increased his reporting and counseling requirements.

Defense attorney John Edward Calior said Kimmel has never had inappropriate contact with children, an assertion backed by Kimmel’s sister, a mother of three.

“This is an illness,” Calior said.

Kimmel said he has come to think differently about his illness.

“I used to think of myself as a victim because I thought I had no choice,” he said. “Now, I understand it is a choice.”

St. John decided Kimmel should not go to state prison.

“They would eat you up,” the judge said. “You would not survive.”

However, St. John said future offenses would inevitably put Kimmel there.

Kimmel was sentenced to 1 to 23 months in jail followed by 3 years’ probation.

Kimmel must report as a sex offender for 15 years, and St. John added a condition of Kimmel’s parole and probation that he not be allowed access to the internet unless it is in a controlled environment, such as a college library should Kimmel return to school, or the computer has a filter to bar the loading of pornographic web sites.

Kimmel is barred from looking at pornography and is not allowed to be with children unless an adult also is present.

Kimmel noted he has not been able to find counseling for his porn addiction, and St. John acknowledged the opportunities for counseling are “very limited.”

But, St. John added, Kimmel must make finding counseling a priority.