The first woman in Alaska to be charged with possessing and distributing child pornography will avoid jail time, in no small part because the judge took pity on the woman who has herself been a victim of sexual abuse, KTUU (Anchorage) is reporting.
Brittany Alexandra Robinson, 25, was sentenced to a three-year suspended prison sentence, plus five years probation, by Superior Court Judge Kevin M. Saxby. Robinson’s public defender had argued in favor of the light sentence due to Robinson’s remorse and her own history as a victim of sexual abuse, and Saxby agreed.
“I do find good prospects for rehabilitation here based on the evaluation that was provided to me and the testimony I have heard, including Ms. Robinson’s short, but I’m convinced, heartfelt, expression of remorse.”
Back in 2013, as Alaska Dispatch News reported at the time, Anchorage police discovered that an internet user in Anchorage was downloading and sharing images of child pornography using a file-sharing site. Cops eventually honed in on Robinson, who was 21 and pregnant at the time and working at a day care center.
After obtaining a search warrant, police found “dozens” of images of children being forced to perform sex acts. Police ruled out the possibility that Robinson was caught in what police call a “bycatch” – that is, downloading a file that they believe is a movie or song but actually contains child pornography. Using computer forensics tools, police determined that Robinson had deliberately searched for images of exploited children using search terms likely to give her the result the wanted, according to police Lt. Nancy Reeder.
“She didn’t go into any indication as to why she was doing it. She definitely knew what it was. She saw that it was child pornography.”
Robinson was charged with 30 felonies: 12 counts of distributing child pornography and 18 of possessing child pornography.
Police, searching Robinson’s husband’s computer and conducting interviews with him, quickly ruled out the possibility of him being involved in downloading child porn.
“The husband had absolutely no idea. And there was nothing from what we found, from looking at his computer and interviewing him, nothing that indicated he had knowledge, that he ever downloaded anything. There was nothing at all.”
During Robinson’s trial last week, the court was told that Brittany Robinson herself – as well as her sister – had been a victim of child sexual abuse. Public defender Jonathon Torres explained that both young girls had been raped, and otherwise continually sexually abused, by their grandfather, Paul Ward. Ward was recently released from a Nevada prison after having served time for the rapes of his granddaughters.
Torres said that Robinson’s family refused to confront the abuse and instead tried to cope with it by not speaking about it.
Prosecutor Adam Alexander said that nothing excused the fact that Robinson, by distributing child pornography, helped perpetuate the very same type of sexual abuse that she herself suffered.
Speaking to the court, Robinson mentioned her own childhood experiences and promised to get the help she needs in order to keep from re-offending.
“I’m deeply sorry that this has happened. I understand the severity of the situation. And I recognize that I need to heal from the trauma that I experienced in life. I know that with the support of the people around me I can move forward in a positive direction to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
Do you think Brittany Robinson deserved a harsher prison sentence for downloading child pornography or did she deserve a lighter sentence due to the fact that she herself was a victim of child sexual abuse?