In a first-of-its-kind case, a Chilton County man has been sentenced to prison under a new federal law that targets the use of child pornography to break down a child's defenses to illegal sexual contact. The practice is offender referred to as "grooming".
District Attorney Leura Canary's office made the announcement regarding the case against 37-year-old Jerry Alan Penton. Penton was found guilty by a jury on all counts in December, 2008 under the anti-grooming provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
The sentence, handed down Friday, came after years of investigation by the FBI into allegations that Penton sexually abused two children, ages 6 and 8.
Nine computers, CDs and other pieces of equipment were seized from the man's home and examined for evidence. Thousands of images and movies containing child pornography were uncovered in the examination.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says many of the victims have been identified as child victims from other states and countries.
Several of the victims gave accounts in Penton's case including one who is now 19-years-old. "When I was told how many people have viewed these images and videos I though my pulse would stop," said the unidentified victim recalled. "Thinking about all those sick perverts viewing my body being ravished and hurt like that makes me feel like I was raped by each and every one of them."
Penton will spend the next 40 years in a federal prison.