(SNews) – Democrat Eliot Cutler, a former candidate for Maine governor, has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.
Cutler admitted to being in possession of images of child sex abuse.
In 2010, Cutler came close to becoming the governor of Maine but narrowly lost to Republican Paul LePage.
Cutler is also a wealthy attorney who has dedicated much of his career to Democratic Party politics.
“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.
Wealthy Maine lawyer and Democrat candidate for governor pleads guilty to child porn charges | Just The News https://t.co/rGcnplKlP9
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) May 6, 2023
The plea deal calls for Cutler to serve nine months in jail out of a 4-year sentence plus six years on probation for four counts of possessing sexually explicit material of a child under 12, according to Just the News.
76-year-old Cutler expressed remorse and made no excuses for his behavior.
He said he would devote his remaining years to redemption.
He told the judge that he had neglected opportunities to reach out for help and was “embarrassed, ashamed, and deeply, deeply sorry” for his actions.
“I failed to meet my obligations to myself, to my family, to my friends, and to civilized society,” he added.
The investigation into Cutler began with a tip in December 2021, according to the AP.
The tip came from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which informed Maine State Police that someone in Maine had either downloaded or uploaded a single illegal image.
According to Central Maine, prosecutors said Cutler downloaded over 80,000 images of children younger than 12 in often violent and unusual sexual acts.
Cutler was released weeks after his arrest and has remained free on $50,000 bail since then.
As part of a plea deal in May 2022, a judge allowed Cutler to resume online activity, with strict monitoring by a third-party company that the Democrat agreed to pay for.
Once he completes his sentence, likely in a county jail, he will still face numerous restrictions.
His online activity will be monitored and he could be randomly searched at any time.
If at any point Cutler is caught viewing or downloading sexually explicit images of children, he risks additional prison time, Central Maine notes.
He also will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years and has agreed to pay $5,000 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which prompted the investigation that led to his charges.
In December 2021, the center received a tip from an employee at Dropbox, a file-hosting system, who found a file uploaded by Cutler that appeared to depict the abuse of a girl between the ages of 4 and 6.
AP noted Cutler’s prior political career:
It marked a remarkable fall for a man who once served as an aide to the late Sen. Edmund Muskie, as the top energy and environmental adviser to then-President Jimmy Carter, and launched a powerful environmental law firm in Washington, D.C.
His attorney, Walter McKee, said all of Cutler’s life achievements will now be nullified in many people’s opinions because of his possession of so many images of children being hurt — a punishment that goes beyond the jail term.