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Prison awaits man who copped to child porn

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Norcross man will serve the next 11/2 years in prison after admitting in court to downloading peer-to-peer images of child pornography, an official said Monday.

John Holstein, 50, pleaded guilty Friday in Gwinnett Superior Court to eight counts of sexual exploitation of children for images found on his home computer. Previously free on $11,400 bond, Holstein was immediately taken into custody, said Assistant District Attorney Jay Hughes.

GBI agents using an automated program that monitors the sharing of computer files traced downloaded child porn to an IP address belonging to Holstein. He was arrested at his Hallbrook Drive home in April 2010.

"Witnesses for (Holstein) stated that (he) experienced relief for being caught with these computer files and directed his energies to treatment and rehabilitation," which his counselor corroborated, Hughes said.

Under current Georgia law, Holstein must register as a sex offender for at least 30 years, she said. He also must complete sex offender treatment.

Judge Tom Davis, who sentenced Holstein, stipulated that he must be on supervised probation for 20 years. Davis pointed out that, while Holstein never inappropriately touched a child, he helped create a market for child porn and contributed to the exploitation of children, Hughes said.

A number of witnesses testified in Holstein's defense, noting the positive contributions he'd made to the community and that he'd received extensive sex offender treatment following his arrest, Hughes said.

According to Georgia Secretary of State records, Holstein is a licensed nuclear pharmacist, a specialty practice involving radioactive materials used to treat diseases. The charges were not connected to his employment, Hughes said.

Holstein's arrest came as part of an ongoing crackdown on the child porn trade by the GBI's high technology investigations unit task force.

The U.S. Department of Justice program was developed in response to the increasing number of youngsters using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography and heightened activity by online predators, officials have said.