Child porn gets former trooper probation

David Charles Corkett

The former Oregon State Police trooper who pleaded guilty in May to child pornography charges was sentenced Wednesday in Clatsop County Circuit Court.

David Charles Corkett, 54, was sentenced to two years probation that includes registering as a sex offender, completing a sex offender evaluation and recommended treatment.

He already began the sex offender evaluation, according to his defense lawyer Lisa Maxfield.

In addition, the sentence includes Corkett forfeiting his Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training license. He will not be allowed to work in law enforcement in Oregon.

Corkett, who served as a senior trooper in the Astoria Area Command Office until his resignation in January 2013, was arrested in April 2014 on 29 charges of second-degree encouraging child sex abuse, a class C felony.

As part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree encouraging child sex abuse, a lesser misdemeanor charge.

Corkett, who moved to Southern California but is staying in Portland to complete treatment, appeared in court Wednesday. He declined to speak during the hearing.

Maxfield attempted multiple times to dismiss the case, claiming the child pornography material was a form of freedom of expression, not child abuse, and the material could only be lewd if the person possessing it is sexually aroused.

She specifically pointed to images from a Swedish art film that won Sweden’s most prestigious film prize, the Guldbagge, and was Sweden’s official selection for the 54th Academy Awards in 1982. Other images were from nudist publications.

In court Wednesday, Maxfield said she has never seen images like that be criminally charged. One reason she believed Corkett was able to plead to a lesser charge was because investigators could not confirm if the children in the images were under 18.

Judge Paula Brownhill agreed with Maxfield that the images were not as extreme as other cases, but were still illegal in Oregon.

“This is a different kind of case than what we generally see with child pornography,” Brownhill told Corkett. “You have already given up quite a bit before you are even sentenced. You are no longer working as a state police officer, and I would imagine there are personal ramifications from that.”

However, the judge reminded Corkett that child pornography is not a victimless crime.

Corkett was wanted on the felony charges following an international child exploitation investigation, “Operation Spade,” conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

“It seems to me the resolution is appropriate in this case,” Brownhill said.

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