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Eberle gets 18 months in prison for possessing child pornography
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MONROE - A Monroe man was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison after pleading no contest to possessing child pornography.

John Jeffrey Eberle, 53, was charged with eight Class D felony counts of possessing child pornography in January 2015. An investigation began after his IP address was flagged as a possible download point for videos depicting sexual acts involving prepubescent children.

Eberle's sentence includes an additional two years of extended supervision. If he violates the terms of his supervision, he may spend the remainder of that time in prison.

Green County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Vale was forced to consider differing interpretations of a state statute that sets a minimum sentence for child porn offenses at three years in prison. The statute allows certain offenders to serve shorter sentences if they are not considered a threat to the public, but it is unclear whether these shorter sentences can include probation or extended supervision.

Eberle's defense attorney, Jessa Nicholson, argued for a sentence shorter than the standard minimum sentence, saying that Eberle does not have a high risk to re-offend. She cited Eberle's "strong adult heterosexual" relationships and the testimony of his close family as evidence that he was not a threat to children.

Green County District Attorney Gary Luhman said that the subjects of the videos are continually victimized as long as their images continue to circulate.

Luhman added that Eberle sought out child porn during a period of depression and alcohol abuse at the same time as the dissolution of his first marriage.

"He had sufficient time to consider his conduct, but instead of undergoing self-analysis ... he continued on this course," Luhman said.

"Even though he did recognize that his life was out of control, it was only after he was charged that he addressed ... the effects of his behaviors."

Vale determined that the statute was sufficiently vague to allow a shorter-than-standard prison sentence and a period of extended supervision.

At his sentencing hearing, Eberle addressed the court to "apologize to everybody, to the community, to my family, for letting myself get so low."

"I'm embarrassed, I'm ashamed, and I'm sad," he said.