Child pornographer sentenced to 30 years

By Susan Jacobson

                ORLANDO, Fla. _ A man who prosecutors say raped and sexually tortured dozens of little girls, then photographed the acts and posted them on the Internet, has been sentenced to the maximum 30 years in prison.

                William Irey, 53, chief executive of Lake Buena Vista-based Frank Irey Construction, was originally sentenced to 17 { years in federal prison.

                Prosecutors appealed, and in a strongly worded decision spanning 256 pages, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta called Irey’s crimes “horrific.” The appeals judges ruled the trial judge made a sentencing error.

                Irey engaged in “sexual torture that went far beyond the heartland of depravity even for child molesters,” the appeals court ruled. The court said Irey created “some of the most graphic and disturbing child pornography that has ever turned up on the Internet.”

                Irey took the photos while he was in Cambodia, where the court said he preyed on vulnerable, poverty-stricken girls, had sex with them, sexually tortured them and wrote obscene, degrading words on their bodies. Investigators found more than 1,200 images on his computer.

                The appeals court ruled the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell, placed too much weight on positive testimony by his wife and other relatives, who said he was kind and supported charities and civic groups. Presnell handed down the lighter sentence in January 2008 because he concluded Irey was a victim of the “illness” of pedophilia and therefore could not control himself.

                “The record does not support the district court’s finding that because he is a pedophile Irey could not much help raping, sodomizing, and sexually torturing little children, posing them as trophies, and smiling while he did it,” the majority wrote.

                “The record actually contradicts that finding” because Irey did not seek treatment and he apparently did not abuse children in the U.S., the judges wrote.

                The appeals court said a more stringent sentence would act as a deterrent for others.

                According to the judges’ ruling:

                A psychiatrist said the long-married defendant visited prostitutes weekly and engaged in sadomasochistic acts with them for 15 years.

                He began visiting Asian brothels during business trips to China. The 200-pound man had sex with children between the ages of 4 and 16 and paid $1,500 for the use of each child, typically buying two or three at a time. This pattern lasted for four or five years until August 2006, when law enforcement caught up with him.

                Irey pleaded guilty in July 2007 to one count of employing, using, or enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct outside the U.S. to produce a visual depiction of that conduct for the purpose of transporting it to the U.S. His pictures, known as “The “Pink Wall Series,” were distributed worldwide on the Internet.

                He spent 13 months in a psychiatric hospital after being released on bail.

                “I’ve hurt a lot of people and I can’t undo that, but I can learn from that and I’m willing to learn,” Irey said in an apology to the judge, the government, family, friends and his victims.

                In a video statement to the court, Irey’s wife of then-25 years called him as “a loving and wonderful husband and father” who is “mindful of other people’s feelings.”

                The appeals court, however, said Irey lied to his wife, stole from the business his father started 50 years earlier and drove Frank Irey Construction into the ground. The company, named after Irey’s late father, a contractor and longtime Republican Party chairman in Washington County, Pa., was dissolved last year, corporate records show. The Ireys are from Monongahela, Pa.

                “No number of civic club memberships can outweigh the harm that Irey caused his wife and family and the community,” the judges wrote.

                Irey is serving his sentence in a Federal Correctional Institute in Butner, N.C., a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney said.