Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

March 13, 2014

Former doctor faces child porn sentencing

Keller apologizes for 'obsession' that he says began as teen

As he awaited his sentencing this week on three child pornography counts, former Phillips Academy physician Richard Keller apologized for an obsession that he says began as a curiosity in his teenage years and continued into adulthood.

Keller, 57, was due to be sentenced Wednesday in federal court to five to six years in prison for one count of possession and two counts of receiving child pornography. He pleaded guilty to the charges last November as part of a plea deal.

According to documents filed in federal court, Keller, who practiced in Massachusetts for 24 years, could have faced 15 to nearly 20 years in jail under federal sentencing guidelines on the one count of possession and two counts of receiving child pornography.

However, both prosecution and defense attorneys involved in the case agreed that Keller should face 63 to 78 months in prison because he was a first-time offender, had the support of his family and former colleagues, has a strong education and work history and has accepted responsibility for his actions, among other factors.

In a letter to Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, Keller wrote his obsession began as a teenager “only to worsen with the advent of computers and the Internet.” He said the obsession didn’t define him, and that he has always worked to help people. Even in prison, he said, he has helped inmates seek medical care.

“He is ready to serve his sentence and anxious to engage in all of the appropriate programming and therapy,” according to a memorandum filed by his attorneys, Patricia Garin and Max Stern of Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg and Garin of Boston. He has “accepted responsibility for his actions,” has agreed to resign his medical license, has no prior criminal record and has strong family and community support, their statement said.

Another memorandum, signed by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, states, in part, that “a sentence of 78 months’ imprisonment is sufficient but not greater than necessary to satisfy the sentencing goals ... . Imposition of the recommended sentence, jointly recommended by the defendant, is warranted to reflect the seriousness of the offense, the length of time Keller engaged in this activity and the amount of monies paid for the exploitation of children.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News

Pictures of the Week
Stocks