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Pa. man sentenced on charges of child pornography

October 16, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man convicted of secretly videotaping young women in his home and possessing hundreds of computer images and films of child pornography was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to 111/2 to 23 months in jail.

Jonathan Edward Spealman, 35, of 1114 Tallow Hill Road in Chambersburg, pleaded guilty in May to three third-degree felony counts of possession of child pornography, two misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy and one felony count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, according to court records.

"You have hurt innocent women by what I would term perverted activity," Judge Carol Van Horn told Spealman.

Spealman's videotaping of the young women came to light in June 2002 when one of them was housesitting while he and his family were on vacation, according to the Pennsylvania State Police affidavit of probable cause. The young woman wanted to watch a movie, but instead found a video tape depicting her in various stages of undress, according to the affidavit.

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When later questioned by police, Spealman admitted to making tapes of two other girls by hiding a video camera in the bathroom and bedroom, the affidavit stated.

"The invasion of privacy charges ... in this situation are the most egregious because you do have victims with faces," Van Horn said.

When police searched his house, his computer was seized and the affidavit stated that 318 photos of child pornography and 58 child pornographic movies were found.

Van Horn said the children and teenagers in the pornographic images and movies also were "real victims." She described Spealman's actions as "despicable."

The young woman who discovered the video tape also told police she found a closet in the house that was being used to grow marijuana. Police discovered more than 50 marijuana plants in the house, as well as processed marijuana.

Because Spealman had no prior criminal record, Van Horn said she was not going to sentence him to state prison, but he will have to comply with the lifetime registration provision of Pennsylvania's Megan's Law. That means he must register with local police when he is released from prison and anytime he changes his address for the rest of his life.

Van Horn also ordered him to submit a DNA sample to state police at a cost of $250. His fines totaled another $1,700.

The longest part of the sentence was nine to 18 months for growing the marijuana. The judge gave him three concurrent 21/2-to-five-month sentences on the child pornography charges and four years on probation for the invasion of privacy charges. The sentences were in line with recommendations in the pre-sentence investigation report, Van Horn said.

The judge told him he was to have no unsupervised contact with minors. Spealman asked if that included his own child; Van Horn said he would have to petition the court for permission at a later date.

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