James H. Peak Arraigned and Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on August 24, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JAMES H. PEAK, a 49-year-old resident of Billings, was arraigned and pled guilty to possession of child pornography. Sentencing is set for November 16, 2011. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In February of 2011, PEAK contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Billings to report that he had received a mailing offering child pornography for sale. The FBI relayed PEAK's contact information to a U.S. Postal Inspector who made arrangements to meet with PEAK in Billings to discuss the matter. During that interview, PEAK admitted that he had a collection of child pornography and child erotica in movie format at his residence in Billings that he had received via the U.S. mail and that it was an interest he had fought for many years. PEAK described how he basically led one life at work and a separate life at home; how he would collect and then destroy that collection numerous times over the years; and how he was relieved to finally be able to talk to someone about it.
PEAK consented to a search of his residence and was extremely helpful in identifying and collecting all the items, including printing credit card statements which confirmed his purchases of the offending movies.
The agent reviewed all of the items turned over by PEAK and found numerous movies that he had ordered that contained passages of child pornography. While the passages did satisfy the definition of child pornography, the child pornography was not of the graphic nature found in most cases. Further, there was absolutely nothing on his computer, and no evidence that PEAK had used the Internet to look for or save any child pornography.
Following his interview, PEAK voluntarily surrendered his medical license, notified the hospital and clinic, and immediately entered and successfully completed a 90-day inpatient treatment program in Texas. While in treatment, PEAK passed a polygraph examination confirming that he had not engaged in any hands-on conduct with children. Within a day of his return, PEAK enrolled in sexual offender treatment in Billings, and is currently attending regular AA and Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings.
PEAK faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.