After three and a half days of testimony from a long list of witnesses and the accused, the trial of a former Tarleton State University child psychology professor facing two third-degree felony indictments came to a close Thursday.
Judge Donald Jones found Thomas Dougherty, 44, guilty on three counts of possessing child pornography and not guilty of an additional six counts.
Jones found Dougherty guilty of possessing the illegal videos on his office computer, an offense which he admitted to university police officers on Dec. 9, 2007.
But Jones did not agree with the allegation that Dougherty also knowingly and intentionally downloaded pornographic photos of children on his university-issued laptop, which was kept at this residence and reportedly used by his two teenage sons.
Defense attorney Robert Glasgow implored Jones to avoid sentencing his client to time behind bars and called on a number of witnesses who swore to Dougherty's outstanding character. The witnesses said justice wouldn't be served by sentencing the guilty man to confinement.
Special prosecutor Von Bunn asked the judge to assess a punishment that would make Dougherty "face the consequences" of his crime. She requested a minimum sentence of four to five years in prison followed by 10 years of probation.
"To make sure he understands what he has done," Bunn said.
If Jones chose a probated sentence, Bunn asked the judge to also sentence Dougherty to 180 days in the county jail.
"He has got to have some consequences," Bunn said.
In the end, Dougherty was sentenced to 10 years confinement for each of the counts. Jones ordered the sentences to run concurrently since the offenses all fell under one indictment. He also probated the sentence, meaning Dougherty will not serve time in a state penitentiary.
Glasgow said he had told his client that the "worst" possible sentence might be probation, which would require him to "walk a straight and narrow" line. But Glasgow said probation was the best sentence for Dougherty and his family.
If however Dougherty violates the terms of his strict probationary agreement, he could be sent to jail to serve his time behind bars.
He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Before delivering the sentence, Jones addressed Dougherty and said in his time on the bench, the case was the "most disturbing case" he had ever heard. Jones said the difficulty came from the video images he had to watch during the proceeding and the children victimized in the images.
Jones also said if in reviewing the evidence he felt Dougherty had the pornographic images in his possession for a long period of time, the sentence would have been much different.
And Jones added that since it could be possible that Dougherty never saw the videos, the judge had to work to separate the videos he had viewed during the trial from the possession offense.
Following the proceeding Glasgow said he had no comment on the case and his co-counsel, Shay Isham said Dougherty also had no comment at the time.