NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 14, 2012

North Andover man guilty on 16 child-porn counts

By Paul Tennant
staff writer

---- — SALEM — With his head bent down and his voice barely audible, John Mosher pleaded guilty to 16 counts of child pornography offenses in Superior Court yesterday afternoon.

Mosher, 24, of 7 Wild Rose Drive, North Andover, was sentenced to five months in Middleton jail and five years of probation by Judge Howard Whitehead. He will begin his sentence Jan. 3.

Mosher was charged with one count of dissemination of child pornography and 15 counts of possession of child pornography.

Assistant District Attorney Kim Faitella, who recommended that Mosher be locked up for three to four years, said pornographic images were discovered on Mosher’s computer by troopers assigned to the State Police Crimes Against Children Task Force in July 2011.

The computer images showed children, some as young as 8, engaged in various sex acts, Faitella said. The material seized by state police also included videos of nude children touching each other and performing sex acts.

Judge Whitehead asked Mosher if the allegations were true.

“I did it, yeah,” the defendant muttered.

Faitella rebutted the notion that possession of pornography is a “victimless crime.”

“These are real children in the videos,” she said. One video showed an 8-year-old boy being raped by another boy, she noted.

When investigators asked Mosher why he had the pornography on his computer, “He said he found it interesting,” according to Faitella.

She mentioned a federal case, in which a woman who as a child was shown in a pornographic film received restitution from those who had purchased the video.

“She said, ‘It feels like I’m being raped by each and every one of them,’” Faitella told the court.

“It’s never going to go away for these kids,” the prosecutor said of the children who appeared in the photographs and videos Mosher admitted possessing. “They’re there for the whole world to see.”

Attorney Raymond Buso, who represented Mosher, said the videos did not depict children being raped by adults.

“Some of them (videos) look like boys fooling around,” he said. It wasn’t quite the same as adults having sex with children, he said.

Mosher, who works as a graphic artist and has a college degree, cooperated with police and has acknowledged he has a serious problem, Buso said.

“He’s done everything he could to deal with it,” he said. “He found appropriate therapy.”

Buso said five months in Middleton jail will be “tortuous” for his client.

“Some people (in jail) are treated very differently,” he said. “He will be in the general population.” Buso said Mosher, whom he described as “frail” and “socially awkward,” will have a hard time in a jail whose inmates include gang members.

Buso asked that Mosher receive a 60-day sentence and not start his jail time until after Christmas. Judge Whitehead ordered Mosher to serve five months but postponed the start of his sentence until Jan. 3.

The judge said he accepted Faitella’s argument that Mosher was an “enabler” of those who filmed and photographed nude children engaged in sex acts.

“For a normal person, it is difficult to look at these images,” the judge said.

Whitehead said five months is an “appropriate” jail term and told Mosher, “You deserve punishment.”

Besides the jail sentence, Whitehead ordered Mosher to seek mental health counseling; not possess pornography; seek sex offender treatment; register as a sex offender; submit to random checks of his computer by authorities; and have no unsupervised contact with children under 16.

Mosher, who is not being held, went into a conference room outside the courtroom after the hearing ended.

He was accompanied by Buso plus another man and two women who had been sitting at the back of the courtroom.