Man who sexually assaulted babies gets 60 years
FORT SMITH — A federal judge sentenced a local Fort Smith man to 60 years in prison Wednesday for sexually assaulting babies and video recording the attacks, calling the child pornography case “the worst of the worst.”
Western Arkansas Chief U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III sentenced James Spiotto to 30 years in prison on each of two counts, ordering the sentences to run consecutively.
“The victimization of the children is on the extreme end of any criminal conduct this court has ever seen,” Holmes said during Spiotto’s sentencing hearing.
Spiotto, 29, was charged in March 2016 with five counts of a seven-count indictment. In May 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography and one count of production of child pornography.
Spiotto was charged in the indictment with Amelia Spiotto, who is his aunt and girlfriend. In court Wednesday, Spiotto said their relationship was based on drugs and sexual fantasy that needed increasingly depraved acts to maintain their sexual high. That need led them to using babies, a 3-month-old boy and an 11-month-old girl, whom Amelia Spiotto was baby-sitting for friends.
The Spiottos’ activities were uncovered in late 2015 when online investigators found that suspected child pornography was being downloaded onto a computer at the Spiottos’ apartment in Fort Smith, a federal affidavit said.
While executing a federal search warrant in February 2016, officers found a window open in the apartment. While looking outside, they saw a computer hard drive lying on the ground. It contained videos of the assaults.
Court records showed that Amelia Spiotto had performed oral sex on the boy while using her phone to record the assault. She also exchanged text messages with James Spiotto, who gave her encouragement during the assault.
James and Amelia Spiotto assaulted the girl separately, according to court records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts said in court Wednesday that James Spiotto hung the girl upside down while he committed sex acts on her, spit in her face and called her a slut. His treatment of the girl amounted to torture, Roberts said.
Court records showed that James Spiotto texted Amelia Spiotto saying they could watch the video of the assault while they had sex.
“This is without a doubt the worst of the worst and is deserving of a 60-year sentence,” Roberts told Holmes.
James Spiotto’s attorney, James Pierce, asked that his client be sentenced to 20 years in prison and that during that time he participate in programs to rehabilitate him.
“Mental health and sex offender treatment can reform him as well during a 240-month incarceration as it could during a 720-month incarceration,” Pierce wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Pierce asked Holmes to consider how his client came to commit the crimes. He said James Spiotto was a victim of sexual abuse by family members while growing up.
“The defendant never had a chance,” Pierce said.
In his statement before being sentenced, James Spiotto said he suffered from addiction to Internet child pornography and the psychological effects of his childhood abuse.
He said he felt shame for the pain he caused the victims, their parents and his two children to whom he said he tried to be a good father.
“I am filled with shame and regret and will be for the rest of my life,” he said.
In February, Amelia Spiotto pleaded guilty to two counts from the indictment, sexual exploitation of a minor for production of child pornography. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23 before Holmes.