The defense attorney for a convicted pedophile tried and failed to use the Britney Spears defense, today, to get his client a shorter federal prison sentence.
Peter Groce, 25, of the San Antonio suburb of Converse, was convicted of collecting child pornography including videos where an adult male was raping a baby. But his lawyer, Adam Kobs, told the judge that we live in an over-sexualized world where it's normal for child stars to be presented in a provocative way.
"It's rampant. It's out there. There's a growing number of cases," he said, referring to an increase in kiddie porn cases where people search for younger victims.
But that didn't sit will with the judge who heard that Groce also exposed himself to two girls, ages six and eight, in his parent’s home. The victim's mother called Converse police, who got him to confess. According to the criminal complaint, ten months after the investigation began, and after his computer was seized by police, Groce again exposed himself to a little girl. This time, the victim was eleven years old.
"He knew there was a police investigation on him and he went right back to it," AUSA Thompson tells 1200 WOAI's Michael Board. "He said in court, he would not have stopped if law enforcement had not stopped him."
In the end, Federal Judge Fred Biery sentenced Groce to 20 years in federal prison. That's the maximum sentence in this case.
Groce's collection of child pornography was far smaller than most cases than come through San Antonio's Federal court. Investigators found only a few dozen on his computer. But coupled with the evidence that he was moving his fantasies into the real world, AUSA Thompson says this was an important case for her office.
"If there's one image of a child being sexually abused or exploited, that's too many for our society."