A Fort Benning soldier who filmed a 5-year-old girl performing oral sex on him was sentenced this morning to 30 years in federal prison.
Branden Brian Bounds, 29, also was ordered to pay $200,000 restitution for the victim's continuing counseling.
Bounds pleaded guilty in August to one count of producing child pornography. He faced a minimum 15-year sentence but got the maximum punishment allowed under the statute.
The abuse came to light in February 2010 when the girl was staying with her father in Jacksonville, Fla. According to prosecutors, the father became alarmed by statements his daughter made and asked the girl's mother to look into the allegations.
The mother had moved in with Bounds in his Columbus apartment. She moved out when the allegations surfaced and turned over Bounds' computer and an external hard drive to the police.
Investigators determined the child had been molested, forced to view child pornography and to participate in videos Bounds made and stored on his computer. A plea agreement says the abuse happened while the mother was away.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined the computer and found more than 50 videos of child pornography and more than 600 images. Agents also found a sub-folder on the computer bearing the 5-year-old girl's name. That folder contained videos Bounds made featuring the girl.
At sentencing, defense attorney William L. Kirby II asked U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land to weigh Bounds' two tours of duty in Iraq and the difficulties he faced overseas. He said his client also has had a drug problem.
"He recognizes the character of what he's done," Kirby said. "He recognizes he has a problem."
Unpersuaded, Land levied the maximum sentence for production of child pornography. "I don't think that had anything to do with it," the judge replied. "He's dishonored that service by his conduct here."
A Florida therapist who specializes in victims of child pornography testified that the 5-year-old girl was traumatized by the abuse and will require at least 1,000 more counseling sessions. "She should have continued therapy throughout much of her life," said the therapist, Susan Schanen.