Man gets jail, probation on child pornography conviction
MADISON — A Woodland Park man was sentenced to 18 months of probation for possessing child pornography.
Rodney Schantz, 50, also was ordered by Judge James Kube to serve 60 days in jail.
Schantz appeared in district court Thursday morning with his attorney, Doug Stratton.
Kube spoke to the defendant about his crime, asking how long Schantz had been looking at child pornography.
Schantz admitted he had been viewing the obscene material for a few years. He told Kube that he had an attraction to child pornography or viewing children sexually for the past few years as well.
When asked why he had started this behavior, Schantz told Kube that he didn’t know and was trying to figure out the cause through counseling for the past year. Schantz said he had never wanted to take action to have sexual relations with a child.
Deputy Madison County Attorney Matthew Kiernan said he would be making no recommendation of sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement.
Stratton said his client had gone 50 years with no criminal history to speak of, outside of a couple of speeding tickets. Stratton said Schantz was evaluated by a doctor for a risk assessment.
“This isn’t something (Schantz) has dealt with his whole life. He has his own business restoring cars, he has raised children, he has a loving wife who is standing by him,” Stratton said.
Schantz used pornography to try to escape stresses, and “one thing led to another” because the pornography had gone beyond “regular porn,” Stratton said.
There is no evidence that Schantz had ever acted on “any of that stuff,” and he does have a supportive family and a history of leading a law-abiding life, Stratton said.
“I think it bodes well for anyone who you’re considering for putting on probation,” he said.
After a search warrant was served on Schantz, he immediately called the attorney general’s office for a recommendation on where to get counseling, Stratton said.
“It shows that he’s not trying to hide anything here, and he wants to make his life better, everybody’s life better. It’s a huge embarrassment for him and his family. It’s a bad deal,” Stratton said.
The doctor’s report showed that Schantz falls in a category of men who are 5 percent as likely to commit a new sex offense.
“I think (Schantz) is going to do whatever he needs to do to make sure he’s not getting in trouble anymore,” Stratton said.
Schantz declined to speak before sentencing, except to say, “I’m sorry.”
Judge Kube said he had read the extensive report and it did show Schantz to be at a low risk to re-offend.
“There are going to be some people in our public and community who say, ‘Give him the max. Nobody needs to be doing this.’ Other people will say, ‘He needs probation. We need to figure out why these feelings exist in him and then deal with them in an appropriate manner.’ And as I’ve looked at this case, I’m of the latter,” Kube said.
He said this type of thinking won’t go away on its own, but that Schantz needs to figure out how to conduct himself in an appropriate manner for the safety of the public.
“I want you to work hard at this. This is an opportunity for you. ... I’m going to give you a chance to address this in an appropriate way,” Kube said to Schantz.
He then ordered Schantz to serve 18 months of probation and pay a $500 fine. Schantz also was ordered to immediately serve 60 days in jail. Schantz was ordered to register as a sex offender for 25 years and told he could not be in possession of any pornographic or sexually stimulating material.
Kube also sentenced others in the following cases:
— Timothy Johnson, 37, 1105 S. Sixth St., probation violation on prior charge of possession of methamphetamine, probation continued with six months added, apology letter to The Link.
— Raychell D. Martian, 24, 922 Syracuse Ave., No. 10, probation violation on prior charge of attempted possession of methamphetamine, new charge of obstructing, probation continued with no time added, $300 fine, letter of apology to law enforcement officer.
— Kenneth J. Appleton, 21, Rosalie, probation violation on prior charge of attempted possession of marijuana, probation continued with 90 days added.
Possession of methamphetamine
— Jamie Bean, 36, no address listed, possession of methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit burglary, false reporting, contributing to the delinquency of a child, 5-8 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 289 days served, costs.
— Jennifer Koenig, 35, 111 N. Ninth St., two years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 24 days served, 12 months of post-release supervision.
— Marcus Crespo, 21, 413 W. Prairie Ave., 18-36 months in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 37 days served, $765.92 in restitution, costs.