BANGOR (AP) – After an apology and a plea for mercy, a former Holden elementary school teacher was sentenced to three years in federal prison for distributing child pornography using his home computers.

Christopher Reardon, 35, of Houlton, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, who said Reardon will be on probation for three years following his release.

Reardon, who faced a maximum of 15 years in prison, was a third-grade teacher at the Holden Elementary School and in the process of adopting his 5-year-old foster child when he was arrested at his Holden home in November 2002.

Charges were brought against Reardon after he used computers in his home in the spring of 2002 to transmit pornographic images, including images of himself having sex, to a police officer in New Hampshire who was posing as a 14-year-old boy, according to court documents.

“You were one step away from using the Internet to entice this boy’ to Maine,” Woodcock said Monday. “If I were to present the images I viewed and the transcript (of Internet conversations) I read to the people in this courtroom, they would be astonished and appalled.”

Under an agreement with the prosecution, Reardon pleaded guilty in August to one count of transmission of child pornography. Two other charges – transmission of obscenity to a minor and possession of child pornography – were dismissed Monday.

In his remarks to the judge, the defendant likened the effect his crime and subsequent arrest has had on his life to a tsunami.

“What I did was wrong in every sense of the word and an affront to God and man,” Reardon said. “This crime is not who I am or who I was. … I am deeply sorry and plead for forgiveness.”

Reardon’s father, Shirley Reardon of Houlton, appealed to Woodcock to show mercy. He said his son has stabilized his life, seen a psychologist, regularly attended Mass and consulted with his priest.

Christopher Reardon lost his foster son, who has since been adopted by someone else, his job and had to sell his home. Until his guilty plea, he lived with his parent in Houlton.

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