DISORDER IN THE COURTS: JUDGE CONVICTED OF CHILD SEX CRIMES
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Stephen W. Thompson, who traveled to Russia to have sex with a teenage boy, was convicted by a federal jury last week on a charge of sexual exploitation of children. The judge also produced a videotape of sex with a minor and then transported that videotape back to the United States. Judge Thompson is associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association, a group which promotes sexual relations between adult men and children. NAMBLA is currently represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
After merely 10 hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Judge Thompson, 59, of one count of traveling in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the sexual conduct. The jury found the defendant not guilty only by reason of insanity on count two, charging possession of child pornography.
On the count in which he was convicted, Judge Thompson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. US District Judge Joseph E. Irenas, who presided over the three-week trial, remanded the defendant to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons.
According to trial testimony and evidence, on April 30, 2003, the State Police and Camden County Prosecutor's Office executed search warrants at both of Thompson's New Jersey residences and his judicial chambers located in the Camden County Hall of Justice.
During the searches, authorities recovered 17 VHS tapes containing child pornography involving images of children engaged in sexually explicit acts, magazines containing child pornography and child erotica; materials associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA); an 8mm film containing child pornography; various papers containing the age of consent in countries all over the world, as well as in various states in the United States; more than 300 printed images of child pornography and child erotica; and 57 floppy disks containing more than 6,000 thousands of images of child pornography.
One of the videocassettes found along with the video camera was played for the jury and contained what appeared to be tourist footage from a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, that Thompson made in September 2002. The scene then cuts to a hotel room with a young teenage boy under the age of 18, according to expert testimony. Thompson is heard telling an unidentified man speaking in Russian to ask the child to take off his clothes. As played for the jury, the camera appears to be placed on a piece of furniture in the hotel room and shortly thereafter, Thompson can be seen climbing naked onto the bed with the child and engaging in sexual acts with the child. The tape contains approximately 40 minutes of sexual footage of the child.
The jury heard the testimony of Dr. John S. O'Brien, a Philadelphia psychiatrist and prosecution witness. Dr. O'Brien testified that Thompson did not suffer from a severe mental disease or defect and disputed Thompson's claim that - at the time of his crimes - he suffered from a severe form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from war wounds and emotional trauma from his military service in Vietnam. Dr. O'Brien did find, however, that Thompson met the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia and testified as such.
The charge in Count One carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years to a maximum of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.
In determining an actual sentence, Judge Irenas will consult the US Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and other factors. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.
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Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
During the searches, authorities recovered 17 VHS tapes containing child pornography involving images of children engaged in sexually explicit acts, magazines containing child pornography and child erotica; materials associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association