Brian Fortner and Graham Drewes Cases Highlight Sentencing Disparities in Child-Porn Cases
Brian Fortner, a Peoria man whose duffel bag with child porn and his wallet was found in a dumpster last year, was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison.
Arizona AG's Office Contents of Brian Fortner's duffel bag.
Meanwhile, a plea agreement guarantees that another Valley resident, Graham Roberts Drewes, will serve only two-to-four years in prison for what amounts to the exact same crime.
The difference is that Fortner was caught and tried by the state, while Drewes lucked out, you could say, because his case was handled by federal authorities.
Drewes' case might have been worse. Fortner's dirty duffel bag contained 100 printed child-porn images and hours of videos of girls' cheerleading and dancing routines, which weren't child porn. Drewes' plea agreement says 1,436 images and 86 videos of child porn were found on his computer.
At least one of Drewes' downloaded videos were really sick stuff, too -- a tied-up pre-adolescent girl performing oral sex not just on an adult man, but on a dog, too. Through a different investigation into the production of the video, (which had nothing to do with Drewes, who apparently just watched it), authorities were able to identify the girl, records state.
Both Drewes, a licensed pest-control worker for Terminix, and Fortner will receive lifetime probation after they get out of prison. Drewes will find out at his sentencing hearing, now set for November 19, just how much time he'll be getting. But even in a worse-case scenario, he'll be getting out long before Fortner's truly settled in.
We left messages this morning with the offices of the state Attorney General, which handled Fortner's case, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, which prosecuted Drewes. Here's what Horne's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, had to say:
"The Arizona legislature has enacted more severe sentencing guidelines for cases involving child pornography. Additionally, the Arizona sexual exploitation statute lumps together distribution, creation and possession of child pornography whereas the feds, I believe, distinguish between these actions."
One last, weird thing about Drewes case. It apparently began with an investigation by the Department of Defense -- which we find sort of ironic, given the big story from a few years ago about dozens of DOD employees looking at child porn.