Child Porn Sentence Surprises Benzie County Prosecutor - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Child Porn Sentence Surprises Benzie County Prosecutor

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A Benzie County man who admitted to having child porn received what prosecutors are calling a light sentence.

A judge sentenced Shawn Gatzke to one year in jail and five years probation for the crime. He was facing up to 20 years in prison.

Gatzke was arrested last June for violating his probation at his home in Elmira Twp. He was caught with child porn on his phone. Gatzke was already on probation for distributing child porn.

Benzie County Prosecutor Sara Swanson says they were expecting a prison sentence and were surprised by the judge's decision. The sentence actually fell outside sentencing guidelines for the crime.

Swanson says a judge can go outside of the guidelines if they have a substantial and compelling reason, which this judge did.

"The judge stated for his substantial and compelling reasons that this defendant suffered from post traumatic stress disorder from being in the military and he felt that this defendant's actions were in part because of that. And that if he sent him to prison, he would no be able to get help for the post traumatic stress disorder," said Swanson.

The prosecutor's office has 21 days to appeal the sentence. Swanson says it's being considered.