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Former OSU Researcher Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

CORVALLIS, Ore. — A former Oregon State University researcher pleads guilty to child pornography charges.

Shawn Butcher, 29, was arrested back in October on allegations of having child pornography on his computer.

Wednesday in court, he pleaded guilty to four felony counts of encouraging child sex abuse.

Butcher was arrested, along with 14 others, in an undercover statewide sting dubbed “Operation Internet Angel.”  It was aimed at prosecuting those who create a market for child pornography.

Police found pornographic video files on Butcher’s personal computer, and 400 images of apparent child pornography in the computer’s desktop recycle bin.

The material had been downloaded through a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.

A Benton County Deputy District Attorney says Butcher claims he was sexually abused as a child and used the material as a form of psychological self-treatment.

Corvallis police say all of these arrests are one small step in the right direction.

“Essentially, it’s one person in a chain. We try to follow up with where the pornography and stuff is coming from obviously because we want to get back to the source.  So every person that we get trading this stuff gets us closer and closer to a source,” said Det. James T. Poole with the Corvallis Police Department.

Butcher’s attorney says Butcher had passed a polygraph test when he answered “no” after police asked if he’d ever had sexual relations with minors.

His attorney says Butcher has already begun formal treatment.

University officials say he no longer is a graduate research assistant at OSU.

Butcher was sentenced to three years of probation and will have to register as a sex offender.

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