A judge sentenced a 20-year-old Elburn man Thursday to 3½ years of probation, periodic lie detector tests and counseling after he pleaded guilty to felony child pornography possession.
Scott Burgholzer, of the 600 block of Stetzer Street, also must pay a fine of at least $1,665, and if he violates his probation, Kane County prosecutors can ask for prison time of three to seven years.
"You need to remember the potential consequences," Judge Allen Anderson said in addressing Burgholzer. "If you decide you're going to scratch that itch, figuratively, you will be back here."
Burgholzer was arrested by Geneva police and charged in April 2012 with two felony counts of child pornography possession, court records show.
A grand jury in September indicted him on 18 child pornography charges and Burgholzer pleaded guilty to aggravated child pornography possession in November in exchange for prosecutors dropping remaining charges.
"I made a mistake. I know it. I'm trying to fix it. I know what I did was wrong," Burgholzer told Anderson. He also apologized to his family.
Assistant State's Attorney Alex Bederka wasn't pushing for prison time, but suggested Burgholzer spend some time in the county jail, especially since he was first caught as a high school sophomore viewing child pornography. Burgholzer's parents sent him to therapy for that, but he was caught this spring with hundreds of video files and images of children as young as 2 and 3 on his laptop, which he received as a high school graduation gift.
"It wasn't one or two images ... it was a couple hundred," Bederka said. "As soon as this defendant got another computer, he downloaded child pornography en masse."
Defense attorney Gary Johnson noted that his client had no previous criminal record and cooperated with police. He also said a felony conviction would follow his client for the rest of his life.
Wayne Byerhof, a family friend who retired as Elburn police chief in 1997, said Burgholzer was active in church, never had a problem with Elburn police, and was a good candidate for probation.
Paul Sirvatka, a meteorology professor at the College of DuPage, said Burgholzer was a hardworking student and aspiring tornado chaser who was upfront and honest in confronting his problem.