COEUR d’ALENE — A 43-year-old cook, who admitted to being addicted to child porn, will spend as many as 10 years behind bars.
Brett J. Ayotte was sentenced Thursday in First District Court after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual exploitation of children by possessing child porn.
He was originally charged with 10 counts, but the rest of the charges were dismissed in a plea agreement.
“This is a well-thought-out agreement between the two parties,” deputy prosecutor Stanley Mortensen said.
Although Ayotte had no previous criminal history, Mortensen said the many files he had on his computers were worrisome.
“The nature of these charges are disturbing,” Mortensen said. “(Ayotte) puts it very well himself in the (presentence investigation). He calls it horrific.”
Ayotte was single and living alone in an apartment on the 1200 block of West Emma Avenue in Coeur d’Alene when he was interviewed by police, who learned he had been accessing and distributing child porn, according to court records.
Police investigators from a crime unit called the Idaho Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), which uses online and telephone data to track the use and distribution of child porn files, said Ayotte’s computer IP address had first accessed child porn in the summer of 2016.
Since then, he allegedly shared more than 250 files, according to ICAC detectives.
The files included images and videos of children between the ages of 4 and 9 having sex with adults.
When Ayotte was arrested after Coeur d’Alene Police and ICAC detectives served a warrant in October, he allegedly admitted to having a sex addiction. He told police he has been a cook for 15 years, most recently at Olive Garden, and has lived alone at the Emma Avenue apartment for four years.
“He would download 300,000 images; a small percentage were child porn,” defense attorney Thomas Dominick said. “It was not his intent to share these on the website, but they were shared.”
In addition to the disturbing content of the files, Mortensen said the crime is not without victims.
“Every time a video is watched, every time it is shared, these little girls and boys are re-victimized over and over again,” Mortensen said. “This isn’t just somebody in the privacy of their home looking at images that are socially unaccepted. These are victims.”
Judge Cynthia C.K. Meyer accepted the plea bargain and ran the three sentences together. That means Ayotte’s minimum time behind bars will be two years. She also credited Ayotte with the six months he already served in the Kootenai County Jail, where he was held on a $200,000 bond.
After hearing Ayotte’s apology and remorse, Meyer said she will send Ayotte to prison as a message to others.
“I want you and the others to be deterred,” Meyer said. “It is important you pay a price for what you have done.”