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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A technical sergeant received four years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge after pleading guilty Wednesday to possessing and distributing via e-mail images of child pornography.

During his one-day court-martial at Misawa, John Davis also was found guilty of attempting to communicate indecent language to a child under the age of 16.

Davis, who most recently was assigned to the 35th Operations Support Squadron, also was reduced in rank to E-1 and ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances. Military officials said he would lose his retirement and other benefits associated with the military after a career spanning just more than 19 years.

Davis was caught after he entered an online chat room with a person whose profile said she was a 14-year-old girl from Ohio who liked boys. Davis at the time was on temporary duty to Las Vegas. He used his personal laptop to communicate with the individual for about an hour, using sexually explicit language, according to court testimony Wednesday. He mentioned he was in the Air Force and e-mailed the person a photo of him standing in front of an F-16 fighter jet.

The 14-year-old was actually an undercover detective. Davis’ attorney, Capt. Jonathan Wasden, said Davis believed the person was an adult and the two were engaged in role-playing.

The detective alerted the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., of the incident, according to prosecutor Capt. Gabriel Pedrick, the lead trial counsel in the case.

OSI at Misawa was notified and several computers belonging to Davis were seized. Investigators found about 100 sexually explicit images of people appearing to be under the age of 18 on Davis’ computers, according to military lawyers. He confessed to receiving the images via e-mail between Jan. 31, 2005, and Jan. 31, 2007 and said he occasionally e-mailed them to other people.

In an unsworn statement before military judge Lt. Col. Gregory Friedland, Davis apologized to the Air Force, his unit and his family.

“I’ve jeopardized the future of my wife and children,” he said.

Wasden argued that Davis should be spared a stiff sentence because he never downloaded the images to a hard drive, nor archived them. Davis said he opened the attachments, viewed the photos and deleted them.

“It’s not about the pictures; it’s about the lives of the people on the other side of the camera,” Pedrick said.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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