Ramona man gets two years for child porn

After saying “my curiosity got the best of me,” a Ramona man was sentenced Jan. 29 to two years in federal prison for downloading child pornography via a computer file sharing program on the Internet.

William Joseph Hazlitt, 27, was ordered to register as a sex offender with a law enforcement agency in whatever community he lives in on conditions of 10 years parole. His fiancee, his parents and other supporters attended the sentencing.

U.S. District Court Judge John Houston allowed Hazlitt to remain free on $150,000 bond and to surrender himself to a designated prison by March 30. Houston asked Hazlitt’s parents to step forward and they agreed to continue as surety on the property bond.

When Hazlitt was arrested on Sept. 10, 2008, he was a co-owner of a karate studio on Main Street in Ramona. He is no longer associated with the business.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano asked for a 51-month sentence, calling the case “very troubling.” Serano said Hazlitt used a file sharing program in which users traded files, music and child pornography. She said Hazlitt had a 23-minute video on his computer, and one of that size “takes a long time to download.”

Hazlitt pleaded guilty on Oct. 30 to possession of child pornography. In his plea, he admitted possessing a computer that contained more than 600 images of minors engaging in sexual contact and some with adults. Serano said the computer contained 11 videos, and she said he was downloading such material for approximately six months.

His attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told the judge Hazlitt was honest when FBI agents showed up at the business. The computer Hazlitt used to download the images was registered to someone else, but Hazlitt admitted he had used that computer. Armstrong said Hazlitt could have remained silent since it wasn’t his computer, but he spoke up, sparing the owner from any charges.

“I am extremely remorseful. I wish I could go back and not do it,” said Hazlitt to the judge. “My curiosity got the best of me. I wish I could take that back. I would never want to harm a child.”

“He sought help for his problem right away,” said Armstrong, adding that Hazlitt started therapy six days after the FBI seized the computer on June 4, 2008.

“He never touched anyone inappropriately. He’ll also have this felony on his record for the rest of his life,” said Armstrong, who added that such a conviction would limit his employment prospects.

Hazlitt has an attention deficit disorder, is immature and appears child-like to others, said his attorney. Armstrong said he is naive about sexual matters, never got a driver’s license, and lived with his parents. He has no prior record.

Houston recommended that Hazlitt get into an intensive treatment program at a federal prison. He will get credit for 22 days spent in jail before his parents posted bond. He also was ordered to pay a $100 penalty assessment fee.

The judge received many favorable character letters for Hazlitt.

His father wrote there was a Ramona woman who did went around town falsely telling people that Hazlitt was a child molester. She did not know the facts of his case, his father wrote.

   
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