A Democrat who twice ran for governor of Maine has pleaded guilty to charges of possessing child pornography.
Eliot Cutler, 76, pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday after authorities discovered thousands of images of children under the age of 12 being sexually abused in his possession. He will serve nine months in jail for four counts of possessing sexually explicit material of a child under 12.
“My behavior helped to support an industry built upon their abuse, and I hope with all my heart that they can find healing and dignity,” Cutler said in court, according to the Associated Press.
His arrest warrant stated there were “literally thousands of videos of very young children being sexually abused,” according to WMTW. Cutler will report to Hancock County Jail on June 1 to begin his sentence. Once released, he will have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years and will be on probation for six years, with his internet activity subject to monitoring. His electronic devices, home, email, offices, and vehicles, will also be subject to random searches, the outlet reported. In addition, he will have to pay $5,000 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Cutler, an attorney, was a former aide to former Sen. Ed Muskie (D-ME). He also worked in the Office of Management and Budget during former President Jimmy Carter’s administration. Cutler also ran twice for governor of Maine, self-financing his campaign but losing twice to Republican Paul LePage. In 2010, he lost by 10,000 votes. In 2014, he placed a distant third.
Cutler also gave heavily to Democratic candidates and PACs, including donations to former President Barack Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Cutler’s attorney, Walter McKee, told media outlets that his client’s life achievements would be nullified to so many people due to the charges, saying the punishment goes beyond serving time in jail. Cutler himself provided no excuse for his behavior and said he was “embarrassed, ashamed, and deeply, deeply sorry” for his actions, the AP reported.
“I failed to meet my obligations to myself, to my family, to my friends and to civilized society,” Cutler added.
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