A Bozeman man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will spend 52 months in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, a federal judge ordered Wednesday.

Seth Patrick Durnam pleaded guilty on April 25 to possessing a flash drive containing about 300 pornographic photos and five videos of naked prepubescent boys being subjected to masochistic abuse and violence.

Durnam’s defense attorney, Ashley Whipple, argued in federal court that Durnam was a victim of child abuse himself, and he had self-medicated with marijuana and alcohol to alleviate his pain.

“He stands here a damaged individual who is in need of treatment and rehab,” Whipple said.

Whipple asked the judge for supervised release after two years of federal prison, saying that Durnam wasn’t quite ready to go back into the public, but after treatment and incarceration, he would be.

Whipple also stated that Durnam is only a few credits shy of obtaining his college degree.

“I’m at one of the lowest points of my life right now,” Durnam said, crying. “I’m ready to be sober. I’m ready to do everything I need to do to get through this.”

But federal prosecutor Tara Elliott asked the judge to give Durnam a longer sentence, arguing that Durnam had tested positive for marijuana on two separate occasions – violating his pre-trial release provisions.

One of the days when Durnam tested positive for marijuana was the day he pleaded guilty to the charges.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the state’s recommendation of more than eight years in prison was too long, but the defense’s suggestion wasn’t an adequate punishment.

“The reality is there are consequences,” Molloy said.

He said that even though a psycho-sexual evaluation determined that Durnam was sexually attracted to young boys, it also concluded that there is little evidence to suggest he would act on his impulses.

“Children who are abused become abusers,” Molloy said. “That is so evident here.”

The charges stem from a Nov. 13, 2010, incident in which a homeowner found a flash drive in his driveway. In order to determine its owner, the homeowner opened the drive and saw that it contained pornographic images and movies of children. He also saw photos of Durnam on the same drive.

The man recognized Durnam because he had interviewed Durnam for a job a few days before.

When interviewed by law enforcement, Durnam claimed that “he did like images of younger boys,” but said that was when he was younger.

No other images of child pornography were found on Durnam’s phone or computer.

Molloy ordered that Durnam attend sex offender treatment and substance abuse programs while in federal prison.

Reporter Kathryn Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at kate.haake@missoulian.com.

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