7th Circuit affirms man’s sentence for molesting baby

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s sentence, supervised release conditions and restitution order after he pleaded guilty to raping, molesting and creating pornographic videos of an infant with the mother’s permission.

Christopher Bour paid a woman referred to as Natisha for permission to molest her baby; he also took explicit photographs of Natisha’s four-year-old daughter. He pleaded guilty to purchasing a child for the production of child pornography; three counts of producing child pornography; and one count of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to life for purchasing the child and 1,020 consecutive months on the remaining counts. The judge imposed lifetime supervised release conditions for each count and then ordered him to pay $75,000 in restitution.

Bour argued that the court erred in considering the sentencing-memorandum discussion of videos that show him masturbating on a bedspread that is identical to one seen in a video with the baby. He argued because the conduct in the videos is not unlawful, it should have been excluded. But his conduct was relevant to the sentencing decision because the videos show Bour took pleasure in producing the graphic films, Judge Daniel Manion wrote.

The judges found the imposition consecutive terms was a procedural error because the District judge declared it was imposing a sentence within the guidelines but then imposed an out-of-guidelines sentence. But, this is legally harmless because Bour was also sentenced to serve life in prison on one count. Even though the judge should have explained why he imposed consecutive sentences on top of the life sentence, the result is the same either way, Manion continued.

The 7th Circuit declined to remand Bour’s conditions of supervised release for resentencing and affirmed the restitution order. The judge had the authority to announce he would impose restitution within 90 days of sentencing but defer his decision on the amount until a later time.

The case is United States of America v. Christopher Bour, 14-2211, 15-1090.  

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