Ex-Calif. official blames tumor for child-porn penchant

The former president of the L.A. neighborhood commission told a television station that a tumor made his alternate personality download child pornography.

LOS ANGELES — The former president of the Los Angeles neighborhood commission who blamed a spinal tumor for his penchant for child pornography is scheduled to be sentenced Monday for distributing sexually explicit images.

Federal prosecutors are recommending that Albert Abrams, 64, be sentenced to more than eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty in September to one count of distributing child pornography.

In court documents, prosecutors said Abrams told a television station that a tumor made his alternate personality download child pornography. He later claimed the growth was a cyst and now says an unidentified back problem was responsible.

"These are not the actions of someone who has taken responsibility for his criminal conduct, but instead, demonstrates that the defendant continues to deny that he and he alone is responsible for the pain he caused his victims," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens wrote in court documents.

Defense attorney Marilyn Bednarski said doctors did remove a growth from her client's spinal column and he was recovering from a serious back surgery when FBI agents searched his home in July 2011.

Abrams "has repeatedly expressed his remorse and apologized for his offense," said Bednarski, who is asking for a five-year prison term. "We believe the government's request for 97 months (in prison) is excessive and unwarranted."

Abrams resigned last year as president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, a seven-member panel that oversees dozens of neighborhood councils. On the board's website, Abrams had said he worked on the broadcast media campaigns of President Jimmy Carter and Sens. Robert Kennedy and Al Gore. He also had a public relations business.

During the search of Abrams home, authorities said they found thousands of pictures and videos of suspected child pornography on his computer and hard drives that he collected for more than a decade. Among them were images depicting bondage and sadomasochism.

Abrams also chatted explicitly with others about his child-pornography collection and his desire to sexually assault children, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said Abrams downloaded a 170-page document entitled "Hunter's Guide to Finding Child Lovers."

While Abrams wasn't charged with sexually assaulting children, prosecutors said he failed a polygraph examination conducted by the federal government when asked if he had sexual contact with minors. Court documents show that Abrams passed a polygraph test conducted by defense attorneys.

Bednarski said Abrams was "victimized" by a group of older boys when he was 4 years old and there is mention of sexual abuse when he was a child in court documents.

Prosecutors note they have nearly two dozen statements from victims in the case who were either in the pictures or videos collected by Abrams.

"Every day people are trading and sharing videos of me as a little girl being raped in the most sadistic ways," one victim wrote. "They don't know me, but they have seen every part of me. They are being entertained by my shame and pain."

 

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