A man who distributed child pornography using Internet access at the Ashland library and coffee shops has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.

A man who distributed child pornography using Internet access at the Ashland library and coffee shops has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner on Monday sentenced Thomas William Crimmins, 54, of Ashland, to 40 years in federal prison and a lifetime of parole if he is released.

Crimmins pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to 10 felony counts of possession, mailing and distribution of child pornography.

In June 2010, a detective with the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force determined that Crimmins was sending child pornography to a website that enables users to share images. Crimmins used the Internet at the Ashland library and two local coffee shops to send some of the images, prosecutors said in a news release.

Court files provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office show Crimmins as an unrepentant distributor of child porn. In fact, Crimmins has stated that he sees himself as a "sexual coach" helping children to explore their natural curiosities about sex.

Ashland police Detective Mike Vanderlip helped build the case against Crimmins. Vanderlip described Crimmins as "intelligent" and "polite" but with sickening desires toward underage children.

"He has these personal qualities that allow people to trust him," Vanderlip said.

"Many people believe the stereotype and think these suspects are the monster-types who look scary."

The documents show that Crimmins enjoyed videos showing children being raped and, in some cases, forced to engage in sexual activity with animals.

On March 30, 2011, Vanderlip saw Crimmins at the library running the file-sharing program he had used to share photographs and videos of child sexual abuse on his laptop computer. He was arrested, and a search of his computers turned up more than 1,950 images and 420 videos of child sexual abuse, prosecutors said.

"I suspect he spent between four and eight hours per day on (child porn websites)," Vanderlip said.

Agents also found evidence that Crimmins distributed the images across the United States and the world. Crimmins' emails showed a pattern of recruiting and encouraging others to sexually abuse children and corresponding with individuals who identified themselves as minors, inviting them to visit him to have sex.

Crimmins has prior convictions for attempted second-degree child molestation in 1995 in Washington, and failure to register as a sex offender in 2003 in Oregon. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecution produced evidence that Crimmins had sexually abused at least five girls in the past. Two of the victims testified at the sentencing hearing, prosecutors said in today's news release.

While he was on probation for those crimes, Crimmins continued to view child porn on the Internet, documents said.

Using the moniker "Naughty Dreamer," Crimmins would spend hours on message boards and in chat rooms sharing videos and images with underage girls.

Emails obtained by the high-tech task force show that Crimmins would try to recruit and encourage others to sexually abuse children.

Vanderlip said businesses can protect themselves from people such as Crimmins by installing filtering software to block the downloading of child porn from their wireless service.

"There are clearly ways to prevent people from doing these things," Vanderlip said. "

In addition to the prison sentence, the court also ordered the forfeiture of Crimmins laptop, camera and other equipment used to facilitate his crimes. He has been in custody since his arrest on March 30, 2011.

Vanderlip said Crimmins' 40-year prison sentence was justified given the severity of his crimes and history of child molestation.

"Each time someone downloads these images it re-victimizes the people in them," he said. "

The case was investigated by the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, made up of the FBI, Medford Police Department, Grants Pass Police Department, Klamath Falls Police Department, Central Point Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Homeland Security. Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Harper prosecuted.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.