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Ex-Green Oaks mayor gets 30 days for child porn
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff

Tom Adams

 

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Published: 6/29/2009 12:47 PM | Updated: 6/29/2009 3:29 PM

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Former Green Oaks mayor Tom Adams will spend 30 days in jail as part of his sentence for a child pornography conviction, a judge ordered Monday.

Adams, 71, will be released intermittently only for psychological treatment, Kane County Associate Judge Patricia Piper-Golden declared. Adams also will pay a $10,000 fine and be placed on probation for 30 months.

Additionally, he will be forced to register as a sex offender and must complete 200 hours of community service, and he is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with children younger than 17.

The sentence, handed down in Lake County circuit court in Waukegan, follows Adams' February guilty plea to 16 felony counts of possession of child pornography. He was eligible for a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Piper-Golden was brought in to hear the case after Lake County judges removed themselves to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. In addition to serving as mayor, Adams led the Lake County Republican Party before his arrest in July 2006, and concerns were raised about his political connections.

Adams was blank-faced during the sentencing, although earlier he was unable to hold back tears as he spoke to the judge about his actions.

"I am devastated by having been a party to this crime," he told Piper-Golden. "I need help. I do need help."

After the hearing ended early Monday afternoon, a deputy led Adams from the courtroom for processing. He was forced to surrender his suit coat, tie, wallet and other valuables, giving them to a deputy and his wife, Gail.

Gail Adams was joined in the courtroom gallery for the sentencing by her brother-in-law, Scott Adams, and two family friends. They showed little emotion as the sentence was read.

Tom Adams was booked into the Lake County jail Monday afternoon, jail staff confirmed.

In separate investigations dating back to 2005, the FBI and Florida police traced sexually explicit images of underage boys back to AOL screen names Adams used, state's attorney investigator Mark Pleasant testified during Monday's hearing.

Adams was arrested after local police and state's attorney investigators confronted him at his home and recovered child pornography on his computer, Pleasant testified.

As part of the plea negotiations, prosectors agreed to drop more serious charges of dissemination of child pornography. Convictions on those charges would've carried mandatory prison sentences.

Investigators found no evidence Adams manufactured child pornography or physically harmed any children, Pleasant testified.

Adams, a retired business owner, resigned as mayor shortly after his arrest.

Before handing down her sentence, Piper-Golden said she was weighing sending Adams to prison until she received a new, court-ordered evaluation of the defendant indicating he understood his crime and was open to psychological treatment.

Until reading that report Monday morning, Piper-Golden said, she didn't think probation and treatment would be appropriate.

In her remarks, Piper-Golden called the images found on Adams' computer "horrific."

"This is not in any way a victimless crime," she said.

If Adams violates the terms of his probation, he'll go to prison and not county jail, Piper-Golden said.

Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix and defense attorney Thomas Briscoe both thought the sentence was appropriate.

"I'm very relieved. It's been a three-year ordeal," Briscoe said outside the courtroom after the hearing.

Fix said the lack of prison time does not reduce the seriousness of the crimes.