United States v. Kurzynowski, 2020 WL 6873649 (7th Cir. 2021)
In the summer of 2013, an investigator got a tip about a public chatroom where users were conversing about their sexual interests in children. The name of the chatroom was “0!!!!!!ChildRapeTortureandBrutality:Dalnet.” Timothy Kurzynowski was active in the chat room. He told others he was “into boys 10-13.”
Investigators went to Kurzynowski’s home for a “knock and talk.” Kurzynowski initially denied visiting the chatroom. He subsequently admitted posting that he was “into boys 10-13.” Kurzynowski told investigators he was attracted to young tweens wearing underwear and swimwear. He also volunteered that he was interested in the cooking and eating of children. He said he could readily find persons who would talk to him about this subject, and that he had been chatting online about his preferences nearly daily for several years.
After initially claiming to have never seen child pornography, Kurzynowski eventually admitted to having viewed it in the past but said he had not saved it. However, investigators found a hard drive that contained a collection of child pornography, including sadistic and masochistic images of young children.
The trial court recognized the need to protect the public, “especially the most vulnerable members, children,” was particularly significant.
A subsequent forensic examination of Kurzynowski’s computer showed he was actively trading child pornography. Investigators found evidence he had distributed over 1,000 images of prepubescent boys, many depicting toddlers and young boys being sexually abused by adult males. Kurzynowski pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography; the court sentenced him to eight years in prison.
In 2020, Kurzynowski moved for compassionate release under the First Step Act of 2018, claiming his hypertension, diabetes and obesity put him at severe risk if he contracted COVID-19. Despite being incarcerated for nearly seven years, Kurzynowski still had not completed sex offender treatment. Even though the investigation and arrest had occurred years before, the investigators’ work was once again under a microscope. The thoroughness and quality of their work was key as the court balanced Kurzynowski’s alleged need for compassionate release against the public’s need to be protected from him.
The trial court turned him down and the appellate court affirmed the denial of his motion. Kurzynowski is vaccinated; the court held that his vaccination status precludes a finding that the COVID-19 pandemic presents extraordinary and compelling reasons for his release. The trial court recognized the need to protect the public, “especially the most vulnerable members, children,” was particularly significant with Kurzynowski because his crimes “were motivated by his depraved sexual appetite toward young children, a pathology for which he has not received medical, psychological, or spiritual treatment.”
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