Cadet given 5 years for child porn
An A&M student and Corps of Cadets member was sentenced Dec. 13 to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography, said University Police Department (UPD) director Bob Wiatt.
Stephen Michael Johnston, 22, a senior psychology major from Brownsville, was arrested this March as part of a nationwide FBI sting called “Operation Candyman.” Johnston was a subscriber to the “Candyman” e-mail group in which an estimated 6,000 users exchanged images of pornography involving children as young as 18 months. Johnston had been in jail in Houston since his arrest.
UPD officers executed a search warrant and confiscated Johnston’s personal computer from his residence hall room in Fountain Hall Dec. 10, 2001, and sent it to the FBI. Wiatt said the computer was “replete with child pornography.”
Col. Rick Mallahan, assistant commandant of the Corps, said in June that Johnston intended to return to school if he did not get sentenced to prison.
Johnston was one of more than 80 individuals arrested nationwide in the Candyman sting. An East Texas man who was the leader of the e-mail pornography ring was sentenced Dec. 19 to 30 years in prison. Mark Bates, 33, of Palestine, pled guilty to distributing child pornography.
Johnston had earlier pled not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute child pornography, which would have carried a maximum 15-year prison term and a $250,000 fine. Subscribers to the Candyman group were expected to contribute images as well as receive them.
Two other Texas men arrested in the sting were also sentenced in December. Robert Froman, 49, received 15 years, and Billy Loyd White, 46, received four years. Both are from the Houston area.Now, I am not completely absolutely sure if it is the same Stephen I knew, however here are the hints.
The Stephen Johnston I knew was:
– The same age I was
– From Brownsville, Texas
– White in a city where Hispanics make up about 92% population
– In the corp of cadets
Putting 2 and 2 together leads me to believe that this is the same guy. Now let me tell you what I remember from Stephen.
He was an extremely nice guy, really friendly, and really smart. He was one of the nerdy kids in my school, well so was I, but not as bad. He was tall and skinny with thick glasses. He was pretty quite and had a close group of friends. Never, in a million years would I have imagined something like this. You just never know.