DuPage County prosecutors on Tuesday accused a private detective of using "the Pete Townsend defense" to explain how more than 160 images of child pornography ended up on two of his computers and his cellphone.
Luigi Castillo, 34, of Glendale Heights, pleaded guilty in July to possessing one of the images but maintained he mistakenly downloaded child pornography and was investigating it to help victims.
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At sentencing Tuesday, Prosecutor Romas Mockaitis sought 3½ years in prison for Castillo, comparing his story to that of the popular British guitarist Pete Townsend of The Who, who claimed he was researching child abuse when he was caught up in an child pornography investigation in 2003.
Mockaitis said that if Castillo really wanted to help victims, he would have contacted police or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during several years of downloading child pornography.
"It's sort of like the Pete Townsend defense," Mockaitis said. "What steps did he take (to report the crimes) in three or four years?"
Judge Kathryn Creswell sentenced Castillo to three years of probation and four months in jail. She said his explanation was "certainly unusual," but she found his decision to plead guilty mitigating.
Defense attorney David Camic said Castillo was a private investigator when he came across the images that led to his arrest. Castillo told police he went as far as contacting an out-of-state high school to "put an end to the abuse" of two victims he identified in pornography through a piece of clothing that identified the school.
"My actions have never been with evil or malice," Castillo told the judge in court Tuesday, apologizing to his family and the victims depicted in the images.
Castillo starts serving his jail sentence next week. In addition, he has been ordered to register as a sex offender, get a full-time job and stay away from minors other than his own two children.