A former Dexter businessman with a history of sexual assaults was sentenced today in federal court to a mandatory 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson imposed the sentence on Thomas Walter Vanbuhler, 60, who was arrested and indicted in May 2007 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents found 109 images of child porn on his home computer. The charges resulted from a federal crackdown on child pornography.
Vanbuhler, who once owned a Livonia company that manufactured machine controls, become a target after subscribing to a child smut website in 2003, authorities said. They said he previously was sentenced to probation after pleading no contest to fondling child in 2002. The next year, he violated probation by molesting another child, but his sentence remained unchanged, authorities said.
Vanbuhler pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last August to possession of child pornography.
His lawyer, Mark Kriger of Detroit, urged Lawson not to consider the earlier conviction in setting Vanbuhler’s sentence because he had pleaded no contest in the prior case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonid Feller persuaded Lawson to consider the earlier case, which exposed Vanbuhler to a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence rather than 37-47 months in prison.
Vanbuhler has been in custody since his arrest.
Contact DAVID ASHENFELTER at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Man gets 10 years in prison for child pornography Freep.com Detroit Free Press