Gatten sentenced to 1 year for child porn possession

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Charles Greer Gatten, of Franklin, was sentenced to one year Tuesday, March 22, after pleading guilty in November to five charges of possession of child pornography.

Charles Greer Gatten

Southampton County Circuit Court Judge Matthew A. Glassman shared some of the factors that played a role in his decision prior to announcing it.

Referencing a collection of letters submitted to the court defending Gatten’s character, Glassman said he had never seen so many before, noting the stack was about an inch thick. He said the letters were detailed, as well, speaking to Gatten’s service to the community and consistent help to others provided over the years.

Glassman mentioned Gatten’s cooperation with the investigation, and he also mentioned the state’s psychosexual examination that included the designation “low” in its assessment of Gatten’s risk level to reoffend.

The judge said he acknowledged Gatten’s 67 years of accumulating positive things in his life.

Glassman then noted the negative things present in the case, mentioning that the charges Gatten had pleaded guilty to were in reference to crimes against the most vulnerable. He said that people who click on links leading to child pornography are promoting child exploitation.

The sentencing guidelines present in the plea agreement accepted by the court Tuesday listed a range of two years plus to six years plus. The option was available to modify the agreement, and Glassman — mentioning this may be the first time he has done so — agreed to a modification, changing the range from zero years to six years plus.

However, he noted that he agreed with Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric A. Cooke that sentencing should reflect that child pornography cannot be tolerated.

For the Class 6 felony possession charge, Glassman sentenced Gatten to three years, with two years suspended. For the four Class 5 felony possession second-offense charges, Gatten received 3-year sentences that were all suspended. After serving one year, he will be on probation for five years after that, must register with the sex offender registry and submit to sex offender treatment unless the probation officer chooses to waive it.

Tuesday’s court appearance in Southampton Circuit Court took place in the Mills E. Godwin Courts Building in Suffolk due to ongoing renovations at the Southampton County Courthouse in Courtland.