Crime

Judge slaps Biloxi man with 25-year sentence for child porn

Masters
Masters

GULFPORT -- A Biloxi man was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for filming a girl naked, and 10 years for downloading more than 400 videos and pictures of children engaged in sex acts.

Judge Louis Guirola Jr. ordered the sentences for Ruben Ralph-James Masters, 42, to run concurrently.

The judge received a couple of letters of support for Masters prior to sentencing.

Robert Clark described him as a churchgoing man who was active in the choir until his arrest. Masters, he said, "would drop everything he was doing to come help you when you needed it."

"I saw Ruben all the time and he never once gave me any reason to believe that he needed guidance in his personal life or indicated there was a personal issue ," Clark wrote, adding Masters had an addiction to pornography and turned to viewing it as a way of controlling something in his life because he lived in a controlling environment with someone who told him where he could go, what he could do and when, among other things.

Masters, 42, pleaded guilty to the two federal charges in September.

He has also been indicted on a state charge of touching of a child for lustful purposes. The judge ordered that the federal sentence run concurrently to any state sentence.

Guirola ordered Masters to pay $5,045 in restitution, fined him $10,000 and ordered him to pay a $200 special assessment fee.

Biloxi police arrested Masters in May 2015 after a cyber-crime investigator discovered he was accessing sexually explicit images of children via an internet file-sharing program.

At his home, investigators found a body camera in his pocket and videos of a girl in various stages of undress and while she was showering.

The girl told police she'd seen the videos of her on his computer.

Investigators said Masters tried to erase the images, but investigators recovered them.

Authorities found images of eight to 10 women or girls.

He also had various videos with labels such as "Preteen hard core."

Clark said his friend deserved a second chance. He noted Masters had not been able to receive any counseling since he was first locked up in 2015.

Clark's wife, Melissa Clark, also wrote on Masters' behalf, urging the judge to consider he was of good character, had no prior offenses, had been transparent and cooperative with authorities and suffers from a medical condition. She asked the judge to include some mental-health treatment for Masters and to enroll him in a rehabilitation program as part of his sentencing.

Biloxi police and Homeland Security Investigation agents investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Jones prosecuted it.

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