Three years ago, Patrick Killen decried his conviction as an Internet “sextortionist,” defiantly declaring he got no gratification from the sexually explicit pictures of boys that he collected from them on his computer.
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore gave Killen the equivalent of a life sentence — 139 years — for his series of Internet child-porn offenses.
Killen, 25, back in federal court Monday for a redo of his sentencing, was less defiant this time — but still got 50 years in prison from U.S. District Judge Robert Scola. The judge reevaluated Killen’s punishment after a federal appeals court bounced back the initial sentence by Moore, who called the defendant a “serial abuser of multiple victims.”
In 2015, Killen, formerly of Hialeah, was convicted of posing as a teenage female cheerleader to induce about 300 boys to send him sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves that he viewed, packaged and distributed to others. When the minor male targets refused to send him pictures of their genitalia and other private parts, Killen threatened to post the ones he already had in his possession on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites, jurors found.
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“Sextortion,” according to authorities, has become a growing Internet crime in which online predators like Killen blackmail children through terror and manipulation.
Killen, represented by the federal public defender’s office at his sentencing, was hoping for a 15-year mandatory-minimum prison term. Prosecutors, however, pushed for up to 100 years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Emery said Killen could have stopped his predatory behavior on the Internet after FBI agents questioned him in early 2014 but instead his misconduct escalated until his arrest the following year. In court papers, Emery cited the defendant’s “remorselessness” and “staggering number of victims.”
In a letter to Judge Scola, Killen’s mother, Karen, said her son, adopted from Romania, was an “innocent boy” who got destroyed by the U.S. justice system.
“I cannot begin to tell you the anger I feel for the way this case was handled and for the United States government destroying our son and our lives,” Karen Killen wrote to Judge Scola.
Urging the judge to dismiss the case against her son, Killen called his previous 139-year sentence “truly cruel and unusual punishment.”