Foster Parent Pleads Guilty In Child Porn Case
By Ron Wood
THE MORNING NEWS, Thursday July 26, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE -- A Bella Vista man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to having sexual contact with foster children in his care and filming the encounters.
Brian John Bergthold, 45, admitted to producing child pornography and transporting child pornography in Arkansas earlier this year and to producing child pornography in Oregon in 2000. The Oregon case was transferred to the Western District of Arkansas so they could all be handled at once.
U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren accepted Bergthold's pleas. Bergthold's voice was firm, calm and matter-of-fact as he entered three guilty pleas and talked with the judge about details of his plea agreement. His arms remained behind his back with hands clasped.
Bergthold will not be sentenced until federal probation officials complete a pre-sentencing report. That could come within 30 to 45 days but, because of the Oregon charge, it may take longer.
Bergthold also forfeited his house in Bella Vista. Prosecutors initiated the forfeiture proceeding because Bergthold used the house to make videos of minors involved in sex acts.
Prosecutors declined to discuss specifics of the case Thursday.
State and federal officials began investigating Bergthold in February after a boy in his care filed a complaint Bergthold sexually abused him. Bergthold allegedly plied the children with alcohol.
State charges are pending as investigators interview more children who were placed in foster care with Bergthold by the state.
Federal investigators say they found a tape of a 15-year-old boy being directed by Bergthold to engage in explicit sexual conduct. Bergthold is also shown in the video molesting the boy, according to prosecutors. Police also found tapes of other apparent minors engaged in sexual conduct during a search of Bergthold's home at 2 Ealing Circle in Bella Vista.
Prosecutors say while in Oregon he shot video as he directed a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl as they had intercourse, then he touched the boy sexually.
Bergthold waived grand jury indictment. The charges against him are based on information provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Federal sentencing guidelines call for Bergthold to spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars. He could get as much as 70 years. Fines could reach $250,000 in each case and there's probation upon release that could be from five years to the rest of his life.
There is no parole or early release in the federal system. Time given is the time served.
Probation officials are expected to advise the court on whether the sentences can run consecutively or have to run concurrently.
Bergthold was denied bond and will remain in federal custody while awaiting sentencing.
Bergthold was a foster parent in Arkansas for about two years. He kept about 30 boys between ages 9 and 17 at his home during that time, according to police.
Bergthold, who is single, qualified as a foster parent and passed several criminal background checks, according to officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the foster care program.
Brian Bergthold's case was handled by federal authorities because materials used to produce the pornographic videos were circulated in interstate commerce. Bergthold also transported pornographic videos from Oregon to Arkansas.
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Who is checking?!?!?
The sickest part of this is not knowing how much more ADDITIONAL income this man made from the sales of his kiddie-porn.... surely it beats the monthly rate he was receiving from the state to care for "needy, vulnerable children".
In a world where adults are supposed to be responsible and accountable for their actions: WHO KEEPS FAILING ALL THESE CHILDREN?!?!?
The government/upper-class... everything they touch dies....
I believe anything that makes huge money will never die, which makes the child pornography issue that much more unsettling. From what I have read so far, there are child porn videos that sell for $150 a piece, and these videos can be easily purchased on websites, including e-bay.
This clearly shows me what I already know: anything that sells, and makes big money, is definitely worth keeping. [ I also learned over the years, the trick to "good business" is learning the lingo and knowing when it needs to be changed/updated... if the user-language is changed so the general public sees no problem, where is the harm? "Out with the bad, in with the good, with as few costly changes as possible." One such example of clever name-changing for the sake of "the innocent" can be found here: "'Legal Child Porn' Under fire", where a very poignant statement is made:
I suppose child porn is much less of a sickening problem if the child is NOT "your own"...]
See a problem, re-name it, and then call it new and improved, good and safe. In fact, I believe the PAL wording-technique used by the adoption industry illustrates just how easy it is to change a public's perspective, simply by re-naming people, places and things.
Meanwhile, back to reality: sexual abuse takes place every day, and contrary to popular opinion, it DOES take place in so-called "loving" adoptive and foster families, each and every day. Sick thing is, I believe there is much truth to the idea that people are more likely to hurt, use and abuse those not within their own family. [WHY more people are not more outraged by this quirk in human-nature is beyond me, but I imagine the brotherhood of corrupt secrecy works in the favor of those working the child placement system.]
When a first-parent commits a sexual act against a child, it's called incest. When an adoptive/foster parent commits a sexual act against a child, it should be called child trafficking for sexual deviants. When any of these acts get filmed and sold to others, I believe it's safe to say we are witnessing hell on earth and the moral collapse of our society.
But kudos to the president for making sure we can see much more of the same (see: http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21976). As long as money, health care, prescription drugs and privately run agencies are maintaining the marketing of "poor, unwanted' children, what's a little harmless kiddie porn shared freely between greasy-palmed friends?
From Russia to hell
The reference to Russia was a really clever one, given the abuse of Masha Allen for pornographic purposes.
Unfortunately hers is not the only case in its kind. Here are several other cases where children have been sexually exploited by their adopters or foster parents. Since we only recently started adding foster care cases, this is sadly really just a tip of the iceberg.
I don't think there is anything more sad and tragic than knowing peace and happiness after darkness is a dream only the privileged get to experience. I cannot begin to imagine the number of people who have lost the ability to dream of something better for themselves, simply because the damage caused by sexual abuse has gone so deep and has gone so completely ignored by those who could have done something about the original problem.
Sexual abuse is a legacy that does not have to be handed-down from one generation to another, and yet it is... and it's made easier because state officials are not willing to be more aggressively against pedophiles having direct contact with a child.
HOW a pedophile slips-through the potential parent adoption-screening process is beyond me... and why post-placement follow-ups aren't done at critical stages of development is a further injustice served each child who was placed in "state-care". I just can't see how such negligence and ignorance could possibly be considered acceptable practice... unless, of course, people are getting paid to make a few mistakes and oversights.
I wonder, each time I read yet another article that features the sexual molestation of a child:
Does the average person know the damaging consequences brought to a child by a pedophile/sex abuser is life-long, and often deeply hidden?
Does the average person know it's the tax-payers who pay for each case of CPS negligence? [HINT: refer to cost-benefit analysis]
Does the average person know how poorly children's lives are "protected" because our governments have other budget concerns?