NEWS- 'I am not a pedophile': Strom gets 23 months
The white separatist who pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography possession January 17 was sentenced to 23 months in prison April 21 in U.S. District Court. Although Kevin Alfred Strom, 51, has been jailed since early January 2007, Judge Norman Moon rejected his request that he be sentenced to time served– and his claim that he "unwillingly" possessed the kiddie porn found on his computer.
Throughout Strom's trial last year for enticement of a minor and witness intimidation– Moon threw those charges out– the prolific writer, radio broadcaster, and founder of the white-rights group called the National Vanguard was silent, speaking only in January to denounce his portrayal in the media as a neo-Nazi and white supremacist.
"I've been in solitary confinement for 16 months," Strom said April 21. "I ask the court to grant me one minute [to read a statement] for every month I've been in prison."
During his statement, Strom said he's been a good father to his three children, ages 15, 13, and 11, especially his severely autistic 13-year-old son, and that his predicament resulted from "false accusations" by his wife, Elisha Strom.
"I am not a pedophile," Strom said. "I am the furthest thing from a sexual pervert." He shared his disgust of pedophiles and child pornographers with the court, noting that he regarded sex as "holy," and said that in high school he was an "absolute straight arrow" and was even called a "prude."
Strom mentioned his love of art, adding, "I believe when the human body is portrayed, it should be with nobility and respect." Before his marriage to Elisha Strom, his personal website included many photos of the human form in the form of young girls, including a horseback-riding teen Brooke Shields.
"I do not like pornography," said Strom. "When I've sought out the erotic, it's never been pornography."
He explained that the child porn photos found on his computer were fewer than 10 out of more than 100,000 images, and that they came from an online forum he'd visited that had been "flooded with spam," including "sleazy, tragic" pictures of children that he deleted. "I possessed them unwillingly," he told Moon, "but I did possess them."
"Mr. Strom, this is an unusual case," the Judge acknowledged. "But Mr. Strom, you pled guilty to charges that now you're saying you're innocent. I prefer people plead not guilty than put it on me."
Moon said he was struck by the fact that Strom never inappropriately touched the 10-year-old girl who was a friend of his stepdaughter and whom he was charged with attempting to entice.
Nonetheless, calling the child porn guilty plea "extremely serious," Moon sentenced Strom to 23 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release. He did not prohibit Strom from associating with his minor children.
Afterward, Elisha Strom, who had contacted authorities and is the witness Kevin Strom was accused of intimidating, called the almost two-year sentence "a joke."
During his October trial, she had testified against her husband, saying that she'd returned home to find him naked and aroused in front of the images of two young, white nationalist-movement singers whose heads had been superimposed onto two nude bodies. Moon ruled that was not illegal, and despite Elisha's claims that Kevin had choked her to keep her quiet, he dismissed the witness intimidation charge.
Kevin Strom finally had his day in court to respond to Elisha. He accused her of selling or burning his possessions, including his art, "[w]hen I left my home to protect myself from my wife's violence," he said.
"At her hands, I've suffered innumerable bruises, cuts, and lacerations and went to the hospital," he added. And when he refused to give in to his wife's demands, he alleged, "She followed through on her threat to make these false accusations and ruin me."
In court last fall, Elisha admitted bashing Strom in the head with a telephone and said that she had the worse temper of the two.
He further claimed that Elisha did not think he was a pedophile because on October 18, 2005, the day after she found him looking at more little-girl pix, she allowed her daughter to go with him on a four-day trip to pick up his autistic son.
Elisha Strom did not respond to her husband's charges, saying only, "I did my best to prevent him from accessing children."