Robert Howard Spain, 51, Gets Handed Maximum Sentence for Child Pornography
CANTON— A Van Zandt County jury convicted Robert Howard Spain, Jr., Ben Wheeler, of four charges of possession of child pornography and then imposed the maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a $10,000.00 fine on each charge.
The Honorable Teresa Drum, Judge of the 294th Judicial District Court, determined today that the sentences will be served consecutively or stacked for a total sentence of eighty years.
Spain, 51, had prior convictions for indecency with a child by contact and in a separate case indecency with a child by exposure for sexual gratification. He previously served a ten year prison sentence for those offenses.
Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney Chris Martin praised felony prosecutors Tonda Curry and Jonathon Manning, along with Investigators Vicki Stofle and Jake Smith of the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office for a successful investigation and prosecution. “The prosecutors and investigators worked hard and long to get a known sex offender off the streets of our county and make our county a safer place for our children. They are dedicated professionals who deserve all the praise for this victory.”
Curry emphasized her belief that child pornography is not a victimless crime. She reminded the jury that the more than two hundred young girls shown in the sexually provocative photos on Spain’s computer are walking around somewhere knowing that they were forced or coerced into posing for those pictures and living with the thought that people like Spain are viewing them for sexual gratification every day. “In essence,” she said, “there are two hundred victims of this crime, and even though we have convicted the defendant, we cannot reach out to help the victims heal.”
“But most importantly,” Curry said, “there won’t be any more victims of Robert Spain in Van Zandt County.”