Dammeron Valley man sentenced in federal child porn case

ST. GEORGE – A Dammeron Valley man was sentenced by U.S. District Senior Judge Ted Stewart Tuesday at the Washington County Courthouse on federal charges of producing child pornography.

David Aoki, 48, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on a federal felony count of producing child pornography that he pleaded guilty to in September 2014. Aoki will also face 10 years supervised release and was ordered to pay $3,723 in restitution.

According to court documents, Aoki was arrested in September 2013 for using a minor to produce child pornography and then sharing it with an individual over the Internet. The person on the other side of the Internet turned out to be an FBI agent.

Psychologist David Tate, who had met with Aoki following his arrest, wrote in a letter to the court that Aoki had a “strong tendency to please others and to avoid conflict.” While it helped to keep the man out of potential conflict with others, it also led to some very poor choices, Tate wrote.

Aoki was also addicted to pornography, Tate said, and the slide into the production of child pornography was triggered as a result of his attempting to please another person.

Psychologically, Aoki does not match the profile of someone who would delve into child pornography, Tate wrote, adding Aoki had expressed “deep remorse over the impact his poor judgment has had on his family.”

In a follow-up letter to the court following Aoki’s guilty plea, Tate wrote:

I do not believe he is a danger to children in any way, nor society at large. Frankly, I would trust him to care for my grandchildren.

Aoki is a known cinematographer who worked on High School Musical 3 and a variety of other films and television projects, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Some who worked with Aoki wrote letters of support to the court following his arrest in 2013. The letters described Aoki as a hard working, honest man who is also a supportive friend.

Kurtis Burr, a fellow cinematographer out of northern Utah, wrote:

… There are a great many individuals that society should restrict, inhibit and incarcerate due to malevolent or selfish intentions and actions. Aoki is not one of those individuals. He is a good family man who due to poor judgment or circumstance, finds himself enmeshed in the gears of justice.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Bell said during Aoki’s September appearance that the maximum penalties he could have faced for the federal-level felony included 30 years in prison, supervised release for life and a $250,000 fine.

Aoki was originally charged before Utah’s 5th District Court, but that case was ultimately dismissed when federal charges were filed.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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5 Comments

  • mamashark February 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    There is something so very tragic in all this on all counts. Makes me very sad

  • Missy February 5, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    The tragedy is, a grown man victimizing a child and his actions being excused or explained away. These crimes have a very high recidivism rate, meaning a high rate of re-offending.

  • sagemoon February 6, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Scum bag.

  • anybody home February 6, 2015 at 9:26 am

    This is one of those stories that leaves a person wondering – “hard working, honest man” who doesn’t fit the profile, addicted to pornography, good family man, not a danger to anyone, just wanted to please people… This guy seems to have had a lot of people snookered. I’d say Judge Stewart made a good decision. You never know who your “hones, hard working” neighbors might be and the “good family men” who engage in this behavior never deserve a pass.

    • Mesaizacd February 6, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Blah blah blah blah yada yada yada yawwwwwwnnn oh Geeeeeeeez shut up already

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