Federal Judge Sentences Mountain Home Man for Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 30, 2009|
Lorrie Elmer Mecham, 69, of Mountain Home, Idaho, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 240 months in prison, followed by 120 months of supervised release, for receiving and possessing sexually explicit images of minors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Mecham was convicted by a federal jury in June after a four-day trial.
The investigation began in August 2007, when Mecham’s wife became suspicious that he was using his computer to obtain child pornography from the Internet. After finding a cooler filled with hundreds of floppy discs and CDs hidden in the crawl space of their home, she contacted Mountain Home Police, who found sexually explicit images of children on one of the discs.
The case was originally charged in Elmore County, but after the two computers belonging to Mecham were examined and found to contain tens of thousands of child pornography images, some dating back to 1999, federal authorities were contacted and the FBI joined the investigation. FBI analysts examined more than 600 discs from the cooler and other discs found by Mountain Home Police during a search of the defendant’s home, and found that many of the discs contained sexually explicit images of minors, ranging from toddlers to teens. They also found adult pornography, non-pornographic photos of Mecham and his family, as well as business documents connected to Mecham on the discs containing child pornography.
According to court documents, the FBI investigation showed that Mecham has a long history of child sexual exploitation, including a conviction for child molestation in Georgia in 1987, in which he admitted molesting two girls, ages 7 and 9.
The United States Attorney’s Office argued for a lengthy prison sentence, pointing out that Congress criminalized the receipt and possession of child pornography primarily because such activity fuels the market for child pornography which, in turn, leads to the continued abuse of children to satisfy that market. Second, such conduct encourages the activities of child molesters and pedophiles.
In imposing a 20-year sentence, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge noted that Mecham possessed more than 12,000 child pornography images, some of which depicted very young girls being sadistically abused. Lodge also commented on Mecham’s pattern of activity molesting young girls, some of whom were in the courtroom to hear the sentence. “You sentenced those victims to a lifetime of hurt, humiliation, sordid memories and fears... Your motive was nothing more than lust and greed,” said Lodge.
U.S. Attorney Tom Moss praised the cooperative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mountain Home Police Department, and computer analysts from the consulting firm Stroz Friedberg in Boston, who examined Mecham’s computers and provided expert testimony on digital forensics during the trial. Moss said, “The best way to stop this harmful and persistent crime of exploiting children is through excellent investigations and welldeserved prison sentences.”