WHITE PLAINS - A former Scarsdale High School teacher was sentenced today to more than four years in prison for illegally possessing child pornography.
Allen Julier, 55, of Crafts Road, Carmel, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to possessing the pornography that he downloaded from pay Web sites on his home computer. Investigators found more than 100 images and 500 videos of child pornography on the computer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna M. Skotko said today in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
Julier's lawyer, Victor Grossman, had asked Judge Kenneth M. Karas to sentence Julier to probation rather than prison, citing more than 25 letters of support, Julier's unblemished 27-year teaching career, and psychological factors that led to behavior he said was "situational."
Julier read a statement to the court, apologizing for his crime, saying the dissolution of his marriage, the failure of a subsequent relationship, and the deteriorating health of his elderly mother led him to seek an "escape" from his problems.
"I cannot excuse my past behavior," he said. "Instead, I can understand it to avoid repetition."
Karas rejected probation, saying the seriousness of Julier's crime and the fact that he downloaded the pornography for two years warranted a prison sentence. He sentenced Julier to 51 months in prison.
Julier resigned his teaching job when he pleaded guilty in February.
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Nancy Epstein rushed from the elevator toward Allen Julier's lawyer, Victor Grossman, as he stood outside the courtroom where the Scarsdale High School teacher had just been sentenced for possessing child pornography.
She clasped his hand and asked if she was on time.
"It's over," Grossman said. "It's not good." He told her Julier was going to prison.
"No, no," cried Epstein, who dated Julier for two years. "They can't do that. Don't they know who he is, what kind of person he is?"
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas in White Plains read the more than two dozen letters of support from fellow teachers, administrators, friends, and former students of Julier. The letters spoke of his skill as a teacher, commitment as a friend and dedication as a son.
He heard Grossman's pleas for leniency that cited Julier's depression brought on by a series of losses: his marriage, his relationship with Epstein, the deterioration and eventual death of his ailing, elderly mother.
But the 500 videos and 100 pictures of child porn - some of children younger than 12 - that investigators found on the computer in Julier's Carmel home and the fact that he downloaded the illegal material for two years from pay Web sites necessitated prison, the judge said. Karas sentenced Julier to 51 months in prison.
"The crime here was just too severe. It lasted too long," the judge said. "It inflicted harm."
Julier, 55, was "shocked and stunned" by the judge's sentence, Grossman said afterwards. Julier huddled with his lawyer for a few minutes before slowly rising and heading toward the prisoners door in the courtroom.
One of the half-dozen Scarsdale teachers and staff who attended the sentencing yelled out, "We love you, Allen. Nothing has changed."
Julier waved to them and smiled.
The sentence was at the lower end of the 51 to 63 months sentencing guidelines range Julier agreed to when he pleaded guilty in February.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna M. Skotko asked Karas yesterday to sentence Julier within that range. Still, Julier hoped to avoid prison, saying he wanted to continue the psychiatric treatment he began after his arrest in September by federal agents from the Bureau of Immigration, Customs and Enforcement.
"I cannot excuse my past behavior," he said before he was sentenced. "Instead, I can understand it to avoid repetition."
Julier surrendered his teaching license when he pleaded guilty. He has not taught at Scarsdale High School this school year.
His arrest came the day before classes were to begin in what would have been his 27th year at the school where he has taught courses that included photography and industrial arts. Scarsdale Schools Superintendent Michael McGill declined to comment yesterday on Julier's sentencing.
Julier said he ventured from online adult pornography to illegal child pornography while trying to escape "my feeling of emotional pain."
The victims in the videos and images seemed at the time to be part of a fantasy world, he said.
"Therefore I didn't think real children were being harmed," he said.
The victims were real, Karas said.
"Every time somebody downloads child pornography," the judge said, "it perpetrates the gross exploitation of a vulnerable group of people - children."
Reach Timothy O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-694-3523.
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Child porn lands former Scarsdale teacher in prison lohud.com The Journal News