A Beverly Hills producer and director was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. The case started with an underage Fresno youth who exchanged sexually explicit e-mails with the man.
Federal law enforcement officials wanted Anthony Matthew Logan, 64, to serve more than 11 years in prison. Logan, however, made a personal plea to U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, saying he only accessed the material to research his next film project — a documentary on children involved in pornography.
"I am not a predator or a pedophile," Logan told Ishii. "I'm a filmmaker and I'm proud of it. I just wanted to see what material is out there."
Logan told Ishii he wanted to hold "the purveyors" of child pornography accountable, including the Internet companies "who make millions of dollars as a conduit" for the material.
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He asked for eight years in prison, which irked Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa. "It seems clear to the government that [Logan] is still a person in denial," Gappa said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior special agent Mike Prado, who helped investigate the case, agreed. He said Logan's court statements were nothing more than a "rationalization for deviant behavior."
Logan has been a director of a live television auction show known as "Fine Art Treasures." He also directed a docudrama called "Day of Miracles," which chronicles Sept. 11 terrorist attack survivors who beat long odds to pull through, as well as producing and directing other shows.
He was tracked down after the online service provider America Online notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of possible child pornography being sent via e-mail.
Authorities tracked the e-mail to an underage Fresno youth, who was arrested on child pornography charges after an investigation.
A subsequent examination of the boy's computer turned up e-mails sent to and received from other individuals, including Logan, who was one of the first people to come under suspicion in an investigation dubbed Operation Crying Eyes, which was part of the the Fresno youth's e-mail address.
According to Prado, that investigation has now led to more than 100 people worldwide, and it is ongoing.
Logan was arrested in May 2005 in an investigation that began in October 2003. That time gap resulted from Logan evading authorities, Prado said.
He was skeptical of Logan's story related in court Monday — which included statements that he had been ministering to other inmates in the Fresno County Jail — because it was so hard to track him down.
Prado said Logan evaded authorities when he knew a warrant had been issued, and federal documents show he admitted to destroying his child pornography collection when he thought his arrest was imminent, only to start rebuilding the collection when months went by and he felt the danger of apprehension had passed.