|Colby Michael McCormick|
By Steve Mayes
A former police officer, politician and Gulf War veteran blamed battlefield exposure to toxic chemicals as one factor that led him to amass thousands graphic videos depicting sexual abuse of young girls.
Colby Michael McCormick, 46, was sentenced Friday in Clackamas County Circuit Court, after pleading guilty to eight counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the second degree.
McCormick, a supply technician at the Portland VA Hospital, was arrested in June 2012 when child pornography investigators discovered his online activities. He was released from the Clackamas County Jail on his own recognizance and immediately resumed his online activities. He was arrested again Sept. 11.
Altogether, McCormick downloaded some 3,000 hardcore videos of girls engaged in sexual behavior, many with adult male relatives.
Circuit Judge Eve Miller sentenced McCormick to three years and four months in prison.
Prosecutor Bryan Brock sought a sentence of more than seven years.
McCormick, a former Marine, said he suffered from Gulf War syndrome related to his deployment in Iraq in the early 1990s. Exposure to toxic substances have been linked to fatigue, depression and other maladies suffered by military personnel.
McCormick, who lived in an apartment near Clackamas Town Center, claimed he turned to child pornography when he was in a depressed mental state.
Dr. Robert Stanulis, a psychologist, testified that Gulf War syndrome could be a factor in McCormick's aberrant behavior. He testified there is scientific evidence to substantiate the connection.
McCormick may be one of the first defendants in Oregon to invoke a new state law that allows a person's military service to be used as a mitigating factor at sentencing. Senate Bill 124, which went into effect June 6, is retroactive and applies to criminal cases that have not been resolved.
McCormick offered a tearful apology for his crimes and family members spoke in support, asking that he receive sex offender treatment. Former Jefferson Mayor Mike Myers also spoke on McCormick's behalf, praising his public service.
McCormick was a Jefferson city councilman, a member of the city's police force and had been a Jefferson Rural Fire Protection District battalion chief.
In 2000, he ran as the Democratic candidate for what was then House District 30. He was defeated in the general election.
"They portrayed him as a veteran and a public servant who should be treated differently, and argued he get some kind of discounted sentence because of it," Brock said. "I wanted the court to judge him by his current behavior, not on what he did in the past."