Man whose child-sex sentence caused uproar faces porn charge
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man whose initial 60-day sentence for a conviction of having sex with a child prompted a nationwide outcry was charged Tuesday in federal court in Burlington with possession of child pornography.
Court documents say Mark Hulett of Ferrisburgh was charged after law enforcement agents searched his home Tuesday morning.
The investigation began last fall after police learned that a child pornography image had been viewed at the home. Hulett told agents Tuesday “there may be” child pornography on his computer, although a limited search of Hulett’s computer did not locate any.
Federal prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday to hold Hulett pending trial. An attorney for Hulett did not return a call seeking comment.
Hulett had pleaded guilty to charges he had sexual contact with a girl during a four-year period beginning when she was 6. He was initially sentenced in early 2006 to serve 60 days in jail, although he would remain on probation for life.
At the time, Hulett was not eligible for sex-offender treatment in prison because the Corrections Department concluded that he was not likely to reoffend.
At Hulett’s original sentencing, Judge Edward Cashman said the best way to ensure public safety was to get Hulett out of prison so he could receive sex-offender treatment. A lengthy prison term without treatment could turn him into a more dangerous offender, he said.
The short sentence was condemned by many, including Vermont’s then Republican Gov. Jim Douglas.
After the state’s rules were changed so Hulett could receive sex-offender treatment, Cashman re-sentenced him.
The Department of Corrections says Hulett spent five years in prison. He is still on state probation and the federal court documents say he is listed on the state’s sex offender registry.
The outcry over Hulett’s original sentence led Vermont’s Legislature and judicial branch to crack down on sexual offenders, including new mandatory minimum sentences for some sex crimes.