Jacob Anthony Buttram, 28, of 1055 Erwin Hill Church Road, faced counts of criminal attempt to commit child molestation and computer pornography. On the criminal attempt count, he was sentenced by Judge William Boyett to 10 years, with three in prison and seven on probation, plus a $5,000 fine, 300 hours of community service and sex offender probation restrictions. On the computer porn charge, he received 15 years’ probation “concurrent” with the criminal attempt sentence.
“He basically got a 15-year sentence, three of them in prison and the balance on probation,” said District Attorney Kermit McManus.
When he was arrested in March 2009, Buttram was charged by the sheriff’s office with computer pornography/child exploitation, criminal attempt at aggravated child molestation, possession of methamphetamines and possession of methamphetamine crossing the jail guard line.
McManus said the drug charges may have come when Buttram was searched when being booked into the jail.
Defense attorney Sam Sanders, who represented Buttram, called the charges a “cookie cutter case.”
“It was an Internet traveler case, one of those ‘Dateline NBC’ type cases,” he said “It’s a cookie cutter case, it’s the same one they've made dozens of times and will continue to make ... some illicit text messages and emails (were involved), he pled guilty to criminal attempt to commit child molestation, which is basically a computer exploitation charge, of attempting the crime but by way of using an electronic device.”
Sanders noted many of the cases made are from out of town.
“Very rarely do you see a person who travels from inside (Whitfield) county, it’s usually somebody coming from Ringgold or Chattanooga, because they post it on Craigslist,” he said. “(Buttram’s) wife was by his side when he entered the guilty pleas. There wasn’t a child just like all these (other) places, just like all these cases it’s a fictitious name made up by members of the (law enforcement) task force.”
Sanders said the drug charges and attempted aggravated child molestation charge were dismissed since the prosecution had “enough to get the deal done.”
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