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Child abuser gets 10-year sentence for child pornography

Ernest R. Cook (Maine Sex Offender Registry)

BANGOR, Maine (BDN) -- Twenty years after being convicted of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl, a Bangor man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison on child pornography charges.

Ernest Cook, 58, had pleaded guilty in November to possessing child pornography and using the internet with the intention of viewing it. He had been arrested in September, nearly two years after a relative with whom he had been staying in Waldo County told police she had found sexually explicit images on his computer, according to court documents.

He was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to serve 10 years and 10 months in federal prison.

Cook is a lifetime registrant of the Maine Sex Offender Registry because he was convicted in 1997 of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl, according to documents filed in Skowhegan Superior Court. In that case, he was sentenced to five years in state prison with all but two years suspended followed by four years of probation.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Cook to 15 years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $16,500 in restitution to help pay for the counseling of children depicted in the pornography found on his computer. None of the children was from Maine, according to Cook’s attorney, Jon Haddow of Bangor.

In imposing the sentence, Woodcock told Cook: “Society will not tolerate what you are doing,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Because of his prior conviction, Cook faced 10 to 20 years behind bars. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between 10 years and 10 months and 13½ years. Cook also faced a fine of up to $250,000.

The time that Cook has been held without bail since his arrest on Sept. 29 will be applied to his sentence.

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