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United States v. Seger

United States District Court, D. Maine

October 27, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT SEGER

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR EARLY TERMINATION OF SUPERVISED RELEASE

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, Jr., Chief District Judge.

With extreme hesitation, the Court grants the Defendant's motion for early termination of supervised release.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Crime

On December 8, 1998, a federal grand jury indicted Robert Seger, then 39 years old, for seven counts of sexual exploitation of minors: two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and three counts of production of child pornography. Indictment (ECF No. 1). On March 11, 1999, Mr. Seger appeared before Judge Morton A. Brody and pleaded guilty to all charges. Proceeding (ECF No. 6).

The Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) reveals that on August 24, 1998, a 14-year-old girl reported to the Bangor Police Department that when she visited Mr. Seger's home, she had seen on Mr. Seger's computer nude and sexual pictures of boys she knew. PSR ¶ 3. She identified two boys, ages 14 and 12, by name. Id. She said she also saw pictures of a third boy, who was around 6 years old; however, Mr. Seger denied having any pictures involving the 6-year-old. Id. She also informed the police that Mr. Seger had asked her to pose nude for him, but she had refused. Id.

Based on this information, the police interviewed the 14-year-old boy. Id. at ¶ 4. He confirmed that beginning in the summer of 1997, when he was 13 years old, and continuing through August 1998, he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Seger. Id. The boy said that Mr. Seger gave him cash, alcohol, and other inducements in exchange for sex; Mr. Seger denied giving the boy alcohol. Id. The boy told the police that in May 1998, Mr. Seger began taking photographs of their sexual activity and placing them on his computer. Id. He said that he had seen child pornography on Mr. Seger's computer, including young children having sex with their parents, and he had seen Mr. Seger send child pornography pictures over the internet, including pictures of a local 17-year-old boy. Id. He informed the police that he had witnessed Mr. Seger engage in oral sex with the boy's 12-year-old brother and had seen pictures of his brother on Mr. Seger's computer. Id.

The police also interviewed the 12-year-old. This boy admitted posing for Mr. Seger but denied engaging in any sexual acts with him. Id. at ¶ 5. He confirmed that he had seen pictures of his brother and two local boys on Mr. Seger's computer. Id.

A second 14-year-old boy, brother of the first two boys, told the police that Mr. Seger had offered to pay him to masturbate in his presence and that he had seen pictures of his brothers and two other local boys on Mr. Seger's computer. Id. at ¶ 6.

The police interviewed an 18-year-old man, who said that he had seen Mr. Seger send and receive images of child pornography on his computer. Id.

Based on these interviews, the police seized and examined Mr. Seger's computer. Id. at ¶ 7. They found images of child pornography, a disk that contained images of his sexual acts with boys in his bedroom, emails indicating that he had sent and requested images of child pornography to and from other internet users, and images of sado-masochistic conduct with minors. Id.

When the police interviewed Mr. Seger, he admitted that he had downloaded images of young boys and girls, that the disk contained sexual images of 14- and 12-year-old boys, and that the disk also contained sexual images of him with the 14-year-old. Id.

The PSR revealed that Mr. Seger had a prior conviction in 1987 for assault, received an 11-month sentence, all but 90 days suspended, and probation for one year. Id. at ¶ 50. The PSR says that this conviction involved Mr. Seger having sexual relations with a minor. Id. It also says that on March 24, 1999, Mr. Seger pleaded guilty in state of Maine Superior Court to eight counts of engaging in sexual acts with a minor. Id. at ¶ 53. That crime is related to the conduct underlying some of his federal crimes. Id. He was to receive an eighteen-year sentence, all but 10 years suspended and six years' probation and the PSR indicated that the state sentence would run concurrently with the federal sentence. Id.

B. The Punishment

On June 3, 1999, Judge Brody sentenced Mr. Seger to 60 months' incarceration of Counts One and Two (the possession charges) and 120 months on the remaining charges, all to be served concurrently, a period of supervised release of 36 months on each of Counts One through Seven to be served concurrently, and a special assessment of $700. J. (ECF No. 8).

C. Civil Commitment Proceedings and Decision

Mr. Seger's term of incarceration was to end on March 20, 2008. See Order Clarifying Supervised Release at 1 (ECF No. 30) ( District Ct. Order ). However, on March 10, 2008, ten days before the conclusion of his sentence, the Government moved to civilly commit Mr. Seger as a "sexually dangerous person" under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a). District Ct. Order at 2. On January 23, 2013, a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina denied the Government's petition. Gov't's Mem. in Resp. to Def.'s Req. for Early Termination of Supervised Release Attach. 1-3 ( Tr. of Ct.'s Ruling I-III ) (ECF No. 40). He was released on February 6, 2013. District Ct. Order at 2.

In his oral order, the district judge reviewed the burden on the Government in order to civilly commit a person for being sexually dangerous. Tr. of Ct.'s Ruling I at 2:6-4:14; 6:9-20. He stated that the Government must prove three elements by clear and convincing evidence: (1) that Mr. Seger engaged in or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation; (2) that he suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder; and (3) that as a result of a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder, he would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation were he to be released. Id. at 6:9-20 (citing 18 U.S.C. §§ 4247(a)(5)-(6), 4248). The judge found that Mr. Seger had engaged in or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation. Id. at 6:21-7:9.

Discussing the last two factors, the judge reviewed the testimony of four experts: (1) a forensic psychologist employed by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), (2) a clinical psychologist retained by the Government, (3) a defense psychologist, and (4) a defense neuropsychologist. Tr. of Ct. Ruling I, II at 7:10-12:23. The judge concluded that Mr. Seger "does have a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder, which is Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified." Tr. of Ct. Ruling II at 13:6-9. The judge noted that one of the experts had defined this condition as having "recurrent intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving (1) nonhuman objects, (2) the suffering or humiliation of one's ...


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