A military tribunal on Monday found former CNN host Brian Stelter guilty of child molestation and possession of child pornography, and, owing to Stelter’s unrepentant nature and failure to grasp the gravity of his crimes, recommended he be hanged by the neck until dead.
As reported previously, U.S. JAG investigators arrested Stelter outside his New York City condominium on August 27. At the time of his capture, Stelter had been carrying a laptop holding a plethora of inappropriate images of children.
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In an opening statement Monday morning, Vice Admiral Darse E. Crandall said JAG’s evidence would prove conclusively that Stelter was a serial pedophile who impulsively fondled young boys during his tenure at CNN. JAG, he said, had sworn statements from 8 minors alleging Stelter had confronted them in isolated areas and, wearing a sheepish grin, touched or fondled their genitals. Although no statement mentioned penetration or sodomy, all the statements told eerily comparable stories on how Stelter had targeted specific children that caught his eye.
“I submit to you,” Vice Adm. Crandall addressed the 3-officer panel, “that no child would ever be safe around detainee Stelter. You’re going to hear him say touching and rape are disparate offenses. But I say his groping of young boys is a ‘gateway’ crime. We know that adult serial killers often tortured, mutilated, and killed small animals long before they set their eyes on human prey. Left unchecked, the detainee’s crimes would most assuredly escalate eventually, once he finds the right persons and situations to carry them out.”
Sitting alone at the defense table, Stelter, wearing an oversized jumpsuit and handcuffs, grinned and giggled. He asked permission to speak.
“I’ve committed no crimes,” Stelter began. “You have the nerve to label me a pedophile, a gross misrepresentation of the truth. I identify as a MAP, a minor attracted person; it’s a lifestyle choice, not a crime. In a few years, maybe sooner, laws will be passed protecting MAPs everywhere—”
“— Not if we have anything to say about it,” Vice Adm. Crandall cut him off.
He showed the panel the victims’ depositions, as well as blurred-out images from Stelter’s laptop. The panel also saw cellphone video and audio taken by a 13-year-old boy identified as Adam, whom Stelter molested while visiting a NYC elementary school in January.
“I appreciate speedy cases, detainee Stelter. You’re repulsive, and I really don’t enjoy being around you. Just so we’re clear: Are you admitting to crimes you’ve been charged with? We have three of your victims on standby, alongside their parents, to testify remotely if needed. But I’d rather spare them the horror of looking at you again,” Vice Adm. Crandall said.