Ex-firefighter sentenced in child porn case - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Ex-firefighter sentenced in child porn case

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James Mason during his July 2, 2013 sentencing hearing. James Mason during his July 2, 2013 sentencing hearing.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A former Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department captain accused of downloading child porn on his computer will spend the next five years behind bars.

Before being sentenced late Tuesday morning, James Mason, 41, addressed the court for the first time while pleading for his release.

"First I'd like to apologize just for even being here," began Mason. "I'd like to apologize to my family as well for putting them through everything that's going on, and if given probation, I'll never be seen in the courts again."

Bill Butler, Mason's defense attorney, also pleaded for his client's release, citing a lack of a prior record.

"When he pled guilty he took responsibility for his actions," said Butler. "He was willing to do sex offender treatment."

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sara Farmer quickly shot down the proposal, arguing probation would downplay the serious nature of Mason's admitted offense.

"These children are being sexually abused," said Farmer. "People are doing this because people will download it. People will look at it. There is an audience for it and that's the problem."

Judge McKay Chauvin agreed.

"It's not a balance between all the good that you've done and this bad that you've done," said Chauvin. "This is bad enough that it requires me to impose this sentence and require you to serve it."

Under a plea agreement reached in May, Mason agreed to plead guilty to three counts of having sexual matter depicting a minor and one count of tampering with physical evidence in exchange for a five year sentence. Had Mason gone before a jury, he could have faced five years per count for a total of up to twenty years behind bars.

Investigators said a family member looking for family photos on Mason's computer in June 2012 found child porn instead. According to police, that person confronted Mason, who admitted he had a problem. The family member then contacted Jeffersontown police.

Police later located the computer's hard drive hidden inside a dumpster behind a Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department station.

According to Farmer, Mason will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

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