Virginia: Convert to Islam who discussed joining the Islamic State gets 20 years for obstruction of justice and child porn

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Where did Sean Andrew Duncan get the idea to do all these things? Could these ideas have had anything to do with his new, peaceful religion? Could it be from Islam that he got the idea that murdering non-Muslims was a righteous act (cf. Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, and 9:5)? And that prepubescent children could be objects of erotic interest, in light of the fact that Muhammad, the supreme model of conduct for Muslims, consummated his marriage with the nine-year-old Aisha when he was 54?

“‘I was a poser,’ says young man caught with Islamic State propaganda and child porn,” by Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, July 6, 2018:

When the FBI knocked on his front door in December, Sean Duncan says, he ran out the back carrying a thumb drive full of child pornography. He broke it in half and doused it in cleaning solution.

But in a sign of how strange his criminal case has been, prosecutors say he might be lying in an effort to conceal ties to terrorism or information on the death of his son.

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on Friday sentenced Duncan to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision, the maximum allowed under his plea agreement to charges of obstruction of justice and receipt of child pornography.

The FBI was at the 22-year-old’s Sterling, Va., home that December day because of his interest in radical Islam and the Islamic State, not child pornography. He also remains under investigation by authorities in Pennsylvania after the death of his infant son in June 2017, according to court papers.

Prosecutors in federal court in Alexandria said that in the months before his arrest, Duncan was simultaneously looking up child pornography and information on terrorism. In one instance, they said, he took a sexually explicit photograph of an infant relative while changing her diaper.

“I don’t know which is the more serious of the two,” Brinkema said in court Friday — the crimes against children or the interest in terrorism.

“There’s a huge gap in all the information,” she added, because the contents of the thumb drive were never recovered.

In court papers, prosecutors said Duncan was still probably hiding something.

“The investigators believe that he . . . has withheld important information,” assistant U.S. attorneys Colleen Garcia and Gordon Kromberg wrote.

Defense attorneys said Duncan had, on the contrary, been completely forthcoming with law enforcement and has begun confronting untreated mental health problems and trauma.

“Young, lonely and isolated, he was particularly susceptible to . . . the dark underbelly of the Internet,” public defender Elizabeth Mullin said in court.

But his interest “never resulted in any concrete plan to fight or commit a terrorist attack,” she added, and there is no evidence he shared the pornographic photo he took with anyone….

“I was a poser,” Duncan wrote in a letter to the court.

In court Friday, Garcia pointed out that at least one Islamic State recruiter Duncan dealt with was a man, and Duncan repeatedly discussed traveling to Syria….

Prosecutors saw in that same conversation reason to take Duncan seriously as a threat, citing his reference to “referrals” that help people join the Islamic State.

“I’m seeking to change and better myself,” Duncan said in court Friday. “I apologize to everybody I’ve hurt.”

He said he understood now “the kids in the pictures are real” and added, “I also renounce ISIS.”


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