Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Virginia woman gets 20 years in child porn case

Saturday - 1/5/2013, 12:05am  ET

By BEN NEARY
Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A federal judge on Friday sentenced a Virginia woman to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to producing child pornography.

Jessica Shockley, 24, of Bland, Va., had pleaded guilty earlier to sending images of herself sexually molesting an infant to a man in Wyoming in 2011.

Before U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson in Cheyenne pronounced her sentence, Shockley stood at a podium chained at her ankles and her wrists, and sobbed occasionally as she thanked her "higher power" for bringing her to court.

"I needed help when I was a child and I didn't know how to ask for it," Shockley said. She said she's eager to show people that she has changed.

Investigators arrested Shockley last year after finding the images on a cellphone belonging to James Hawkins, of Rock Springs. Authorities said Shockley met him in an Internet chat room.

Hawkins has pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. He was sentenced last year to more than 17 years in prison.

Shockley's lawyer, Mel Dunn, told Johnson before Friday's sentencing that she had been sexually abused over the years.

"All of her experiences left her in the position, I believe, of being a throw-away woman," Dunn said.

Charles W. Denison, a forensic psychologist, testified he had examined Shockley and concluded that she understood that her actions were wrong. "She has a long history of being a victim," he said.

Denison said Shockley has a dependent personality disorder, meaning she's willing to do what others ask her to do in order to feel accepted. He said he's satisfied that she's not a pedophile.

"It's more or less the perfect storm," Denison said of Shockley's behavior. "That kind of dependent personality disorder coming together with a man who could exploit her really creates this type of problem."

Federal law specified that Shockley faced between 15 and 30 years in prison. Prosecutor Jim Anderson, of the U.S. attorney's office, urged Johnson to sentence her to the maximum.

Anderson said many young women are sexually abused or assaulted. "Just because someone has been abused doesn't mean they're going to turn around and be an offender," he said.

In pronouncing sentence, Johnson said he felt sympathy for what had happened to Shockley in her life and sympathy for her personality disorder. "This is a tragedy everywhere you look," he said.

Shockley will receive credit for nearly a year of jail time she's already served. She'll remain under federal supervision for life upon her release from prison.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Tags: pornvirginia