A federal judge reduced a Tyler man's possessing child pornography prison sentence by half Tuesday, but added a punishment of a different kind — speaking to men's groups and the media about his ordeal so he becomes part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
The judge also released to the media Tuesday a letter Wacaser wrote to the judge.
“I was just viewing images of legal-age females in the comfort of my own home,” he wrote. “It was my secret and no one would ever know.”
But he soon discovered other people had different interests in porn; the women in the images began getting younger.
“I had no interest in these types of images but I thought if I could supply some of these to someone who had what I wanted, what would that hurt,” he wrote. “This thinking would turn out to be the worst decision I would ever make in my life.”
Wacaser said he unknowingly became addicted to child porn and the chat room dialogue associated with it.
“I regretfully say I traded underage images for other images I desired,” he said.
When authorities raided his home and seized his computer, his wife was in shock.
“I truly realized I had failed as a husband to my wife and a father to my sons and that this was going to cause them profound shame and embarrassment that could take years to mend,” he said.
Wacaser began counseling, which was successful, he claimed. He acknowledged what he did was wrong and said his curiosity led to an addiction that ruined his hard-earned career and almost cost him his marriage and family. He said he has learned the true impact child porn has on the victims.
He said he and his family are “glad those officers showed up at our house that day. They rescued me from a path that would have destroyed myself and my family. I commend these officers who are committed in fighting these crimes.”
Wacaser said he will regret his mistake for the rest of his life.
PART OF THE SOLUTION
Davis said Wacaser, who has worked for Delek for more than 20 years, was a supervisor of its rotating equipment department and letters show Delek would continue to employ him if given the chance. He said the defendant has been married for 27 years to a woman who still supports him and they have two sons.
About 40 friends and family members filled the courtroom during the hearing.
Davis recommended Wacaser undergo sex offender treatment and an inmate financial responsibility program in prison and ordered him to register as a sex offender. He said the issues of restitution to any victims and forfeiture of property will be taken up at a later hearing.
Psychologist and sex offender counselor Matthew Ferrara, who performed standard evaluations and tests on Wacaser, testified that during the four-hour meeting in November, the defendant was under a great deal of stress and depression put on him by his legal situation.
He detailed an abusive childhood, in which Wacaser was physically abused then abandoned by his father, and how he was sexually abused twice by two different men.
Ferrara said Wacaser didn't abuse his children but was unable to seek help because he was abused. “He chose to use pornography as a stress reliever,” he said, adding that child porn was a small fraction of what he viewed. He said he showed variety with the child porn, which is not unexpected, because people get bored with one kind of porn, like others do with food.
Ferrara said Wacaser was a low risk for future sexual offenses and said he was not a predator. He said he was a good candidate for outpatient sex-offender treatment and probation.
He said the defendant told him he looked at child porn for two years and the government claimed there were 10-150 images possessed in the case. He said Wacaser told him looking at child porn was just something to do and he got caught up in it.
Defense attorney Erick Platten said what his client did was wrong and he is ashamed of his actions.
“I truly believe this is a case where someone can be helped,” he said, asking the judge to consider all of the evidence and determine a just punishment.
“I see now that I've done wrong,” Wacaser told the judge, adding that he didn't see then how it would impact others. “I'm very sorry for what I've done.”
Wacaser then turned back to his family and choking up, he said, “You boys watch after your mother. Your dad's going to be OK.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Jackson said Wacaser was cavalier about the effect his conduct was having on children, which was surprising since he was a victim himself and because he has two chil-dren. While his son was going off to college, he “justified he could fuel the demand for other children to become victims,” he said.
To view a complete copy of Wacaser's five-page letter to the judge, visit: www.tylerpaper.com.