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McKee sentenced to 37 months in prison on child porn charge

November 21, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

BALTIMORE -- Former Maryland Del. Robert A. McKee was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. imposed the sentence on McKee, who pleaded guilty in September to a charge of possession of child pornography.

Quarles ordered McKee, of Halfway, to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 12, 2009. The bureau will notify him as to which institution he is to report to then, Quarles said.

Quarles also ordered that McKee, 59, be placed on supervised leave for life, with the condition of mental health counseling, and that he register as a sex offender. He also ordered that McKee not have or use a computer, except by the authority of his probation agent.

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"In the eyes of God, I committed a sin," McKee told the judge before he was sentenced.

After he serves his sentence, McKee said he wants to move on with his life, "Not as it was, but as it should have been."

McKee's attorney submitted character letters about his client to the judge and prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg said during the hearing. Greenberg expressed concern about one letter in which someone wrote that McKee was guilty only of possession of pictures.

"The pictures we're talking about here are horrible," Greenberg said. "Pictures of children taken for the sexual gratification of others."

Some of the images were of known child victims from outside Maryland identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's database.

Prosecutors had evidence of McKee collecting child pornography as far back as 10 years ago, Greenberg said. The former state delegate had done a lot of good things, and "should have known better," Greenberg said.

McKee did not dispute the seriousness of the crime, and accepted responsibility for his actions, entering into therapy with a licensed clinical social worker and a psychiatrist, defense attorney Timothy F. Maloney said during the hearing.

John McKee spoke on his brother's behalf during the hearing.

Robert McKee has cared for their aging mother every day, and has been a good uncle to his nieces and nephews, John McKee said.

"Many people see Bob as a good person," he said.

Robert McKee not only was a model citizen, but "someone who made extraordinary contributions to his community," Maloney said.

The defense asked that McKee's sentence not begin until Jan. 12 so he could spend the holidays with his mother and brother.

Quarles had discretion as to the length of McKee's sentence and supervised release, Marcia Murphy, public affairs specialist for the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, has said. McKee could have been sentenced to up to 41 months under the plea agreement.

McKee's service deserved some recognition, but so did the "abhorrence" of the crime, Quarles said.

After serving his sentence, McKee will be supervised for life by a federal probation office, Murphy said Friday. Upon his release from prison, he must register as a sexual offender with the state in which he lives or works, Murphy said.

McKee was charged Sept. 2, nearly seven months after Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies, acting on a tip from someone living in McKee's home, seized computers and other items from the residence.

During the search of McKee's house, two computers, printed material and videotapes were confiscated, police said at the time.

News of that search was made public Feb. 15, the same day that McKee announced his resignation from his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He also resigned that day as executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter after 29 years with that organization.

McKee had served as a state delegate since 1995, and was chairman of the Western Maryland delegation when he gave up his General Assembly seat.

McKee also was president of Halfway Little League from 1980 to 1985 and from 1992 to 1994.

McKee and his attorney declined to speak to the media after Friday's hearing.

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