B.C. Provincial Court courtroom. (File photo)

Shuswap man wanted to be caught for child pornography offences

Judge told accused was trying to get help to stop addiction

Warning: graphic information regarding sexual offences

What took you so long?

Derek Keegan made this remark when he was arrested by Salmon Arm RCMP for possession of child pornography and distributing child pornography.

The offences took place between December 2018 and September 2019. Keegan, 34, was charged in September 2019 and pleaded guilty to both charges in November.

Keegan’s lawyer Ian McTavish told Judge Dennis Morgan during sentencing in Salmon Arm Provincial Court on Aug. 17, 2020 that Keegan’s statement demonstrated his ongoing wish to get help for his addiction to child pornography.

The judge and Crown Counsel Danika Heighes agreed with the explanation.

When reviewing the evidence, Judge Morgan referred to a statement to police in which Keegan admitted he had a problem with child pornography, was hoping to get caught because he wanted help and did not want it in his life anymore.

The judge also noted that some of Keegan’s chosen user names on social media were so obviously related to child pornography “that it is consistent with Mr. Keegan’s submissions that he wanted to be caught.”

The court heard that Keegan was told there were no specialized programs available locally for his addiction and, if there were, they would be expensive.

Keegan, who did not have a criminal record, went to police in March 2019 to turn himself in, but instead was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Read more: Carfentanil, bomb threat, child pornography cases part of Salmon Arm RCMP workload

Read more: Salmon Arm man won’t be jailed for possessing child pornography

The evidence showed that on 17 different occasions during the nine-month time period in question, Keegan uploaded about 90 images and one video of child pornography to social media platforms.

In reviewing the evidence, Judge Morgan said the victims were girls as young as four and as old as 14, with the majority between eight and 10 years.

The photos ranged from naked images with a genital focus, to full sexual intercourse between adult males and the children.

The court heard that Keegan would delete images when his ‘collection’ became too big, and he developed places and people with whom he could share images.

Social media sites would flag images determined to be child porn and then block users, so Keegan had multiple accounts and identifiers.

Keegan admitted he had fantasized about acting out with children, but had not done so.

The court was provided with a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report.

Described was a tragic and chaotic upbringing, rife with violence and childhood sexual abuse. At 14, Keegan ran away.

“To his credit, he graduated from Grade 12,” Judge Morgan remarked.

In 2017 he was designated as a person with disabilities because of his mental illness.

The diagnoses in the psychiatric report received by the court included pedophilia, bipolar disorder with psychotic features, depression and a cannabis-related disorder.

He was also classified as being at a medium to high risk to reoffend. The report noted he appeared genuinely distraught by his offending behaviour.

Read more: Two years jail for Kelowna man caught with nearly 30,000 child porn files

Read more: Sicamous man gets six months jail time for possession of child pornography

Keegan requested admission to a federal prison where he could access the specialized sex offender treatment program he needs.

The judge spoke about previous sentencing decisions that refer to the devastating harm to children victimized by pornography, that every viewing is child abuse, and sentencing needs to be a denunciation and deterrent.

He sentenced Keegan to 12 months in prison for possession of child pornography and 26 months for distributing child pornography, to be served concurrently in a federal penitentiary. Keegan received no credit for time served as he hasn’t been in custody.

The sentence conditions also include, for five years: being prohibited from attending places where there may be people under 16; being prohibited from volunteering or working in a position of trust or authority with people under 16; being prohibited from communicating or contacting anyone under 16 unless the court approves; not using the internet to communicate with anyone under 16 and not accessing any social media sites.

Keegan will also provide a DNA sample and be placed on Canada’s Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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