BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- James Cameron, once the state's top drug prosecutor is now a convicted felon facing 16 years in prison for charges that he possessed dozens if not hundreds of images of child pornography.
Cameron, who is 48, was sentenced Thursday following a lengthy hearing at U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Cameron, addressed the court before learning his fate and said, "I am deeply ashamed of myself...I am sorry for the feeling of loss of all victims of sexual abuse...and I accept my punishment."
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Gail Malone argued that Cameron still does not accept full responsibility for his crimes. She said that the fact that he was sworn and paid to uphold the law and betrayed that oath makes his offense even worse. Malone was seeking a sentence between 22 and 27 years.
"It's important for everyone to know that law is blind that it doesn't matter who you are that you are going to be punished for your conduct," she said.
Cameron's attorney, Mike Cunniff asked for a the mandatory minimum 5 year sentence.
"In the scheme of things Mr Cameron's offense was a serious crime because it involved child pornography which is a always a serious crime, but the circumstances of the offense, the number of images, the access that mr. Cameron had was limited and sporadic and warranted, in my view a 5 year sentence," Cunniff said.
Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ultimately decided upon 16 years, after taking into account sentencing guidelines and sentences in similar cases. He had some stern words for Cameron before handing down the sentence.
"You were working in a position of authority and respect, and here you are not on the right side of the book but in the defendant's seat...A criminal. You lost your job, your wife, your assets, your reputation, and your freedom. For what? To view images of children being sexually assaulted and abused. Images that are sickening and sad,"
Although the sentence was less than what prosecutors asked for, they were satisfied, "16 years is a really long time in federal prison and i think it is appropriate given what Mr. Cameron did," said Malone.
But Cunniff felt the sentencing guidelines for these type of crimes is too severe.
"There were more than 500 federal judges who responded to a poll that the sentencing guidelines for child pornography crimes were too harsh. I share that concern."
Cameron does plan to appeal his sentence. He will remain at the Cumberland County Jail until federal officials decide where he should serve his sentence.