A Fort Benning soldier caught with child pornography on his computer while serving in Kuwait has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison, according to court records.
Michael Allen Ray pleaded guilty to the charge in July and was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land. He will be placed on 25 years supervised release after serving his prison term and be required to register as a sex offender.
The case originated in November 2011 in an undercover sting operation conducted by a lieutenant with the Somervell County Sheriff's Office in Texas. The FBI later identified Ray as the person using an explicit computer name the authorities encountered during the sting.
FBI agents coordinated with Army officials to have Ray returned to the United States, according to court records. They arrested him at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and seized his computer.
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Ray was shown "several images of child pornography that originated from his computer," according to a plea agreement, and he acknowledged storing them on his computer.
Ray's defense attorney, federal public defender Barry Debrow Jr., said in court filings his client was "fully aware of the seriousness of his actions" and had taken responsibility by pleading guilty.
"He also realizes that his guilty plea in this case will likely result in a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army and the end of a lengthy military career," Debrow added.
Since joining the Army in 2002, Ray had been deployed a number of times to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. His first deployment had been in February 2003.
"These continued deployments have adversely affected Mr. Ray," Debrow said, noting his client's diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. "Mr. Ray has also been treated for anxiety and depression, and underwent counseling in 2011 related to the same diagnosis and prior to his recent deployment overseas to Afghanistan."