Florida Keys

He fondled and photographed boys at camp. Now he says his sentence is cruel and unusual

Dieter Vogt was convicted of sexually exploiting minors in 2001 at U.S. District Court in Key West.
Dieter Vogt was convicted of sexually exploiting minors in 2001 at U.S. District Court in Key West.

Dieter Charles Vogt admits he fondled young boys and took partially nude photos of them as they slept at a summer camp in the Florida Keys in 2000.

But he says the 65-year sentence he received, at age 31 in 2001, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and this week asked a court to toss out his punishment and assign a different judge to resentence him.

A day after Vogt filed his appeal on July 16 in Key West, U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Miller ruled against him, saying the filing deadline for such a complaint ran out in March 2004.

Vogt, of South Africa, was a camp counselor from 1995 to 2000 at Seacamp on Big Pine Key, and while pleading guilty in state court to molesting boys likened himself to an alcoholic.

“I have a disorder,” Vogt said, according to a Miami Herald story from 2001. ‘’I never knew that anyone was ever being hurt. I had an arrogance and a pride.’‘

In his 17th year of confinement, Vogt said he hasn’t had any opportunity to go into therapy.

Vogt claims his trial judge, Judge K.M. Moore, told prosecutors in advance of his plan to sentence Vogt to 65 years. Vogt says receiving what is essentially a life sentence was “unreasonable,” considering the offenses.

Before Vogt was sentenced to 780 months in prison, one of his victims addressed the court, ending with, “I think I would be much better off if this guy were in jail until he was dead.”

“I never want to see this guy again in my life,” said one of his victims, according to a transcript of the sentencing hearing. “Damn you for what you did to us.”

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