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Man who possessed child porn ordered to pay $54,000 to victims in images

by Lynn LaRowe | May 19, 2022 at 4:40 p.m.
(Stock art)

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- A local man who possessed images of child pornography on his laptop was ordered Thursday to pay $54,000 in restitution to victims pictured in the images he downloaded.

Demarcus Marcae Peoples, 37, must serve a little more than three years in federal prison, register as a sex offender and be supervised by federal officials for 10 years upon his release. Peoples appeared Thursday morning with Assistant Federal Public Defender Alex Wynn for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey.

Peoples has been free on a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond since his arrest last year. While Peoples' apartment in Texarkana, Arkansas, was searched in September 2018, he wasn't indicted until 2021 because of delays caused by the pandemic.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other agencies have identified known images of child pornography by unique identifiers. Children depicted in images who have been removed from their abusive situations are entitled to restitution under federal law.

"They're victims everytime someone watches it," Hickey said Thursday before announcing that she would impose a sentence of 37 months.

The restitution may be used by victims for medical or mental health care, for example.

Wynn pointed out that Peoples has no prior criminal history and remained gainfully employed and arrest-free for years after his apartment was searched. Wynn said Peoples did not share any of the images he downloaded and that he is ashamed of his behavior.

Peoples spoke through tears as he apologized to the court.

"I'm sorry. I've never been in trouble before in my life," Peoples said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Jones said while Peoples' case involves only possession and not distribution, the impact on the victims of child pornography cannot be ignored.

"These are real children," Jones argued. "There are ongoing issues that follow these children all of their lives."

Some of the videos found on Peoples' computer depicted very young children being sexually assaulted by adults.

Hickey ordered that Peoples must undergo a mental health evaluation and treatment. During his 10-year term of supervised release, Peoples' use of electronic devices and the internet will be scrutinized by federal officials and he will be subject to having his car, home or devices searched.

Hickey ordered Peoples to report to the Bureau of Prisons on June 29 to begin serving his sentence.

Print Headline: Man who possessed child porn ordered to pay $54,000 to victims in images

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