A registered sex offender from Lewiston, who has a criminal history of child molestation and child pornography spanning nearly two decades, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland to serve 20 years in prison for his latest child pornography conviction.

The federal judge who sentenced him said Fredrick W. Butler Jr., 44, is “incapable of stopping” himself and ordered Butler to spend the rest of his life on supervised release after completion of his prison term.

Butler pleaded guilty in the most recent case last Dec. 20 to a felony count of transportation of child pornography.

In this case, Butler sent emails on April 10, 2013, to a man in Oregon containing 19 images, most of which depicted children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to court records.

As federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security investigated that allegation, they discovered online chats between Butler and the Oregon man on April 11 and April 13, 2013, in which Butler talks about molesting two boys in 1995 and his ongoing interest in sex with children, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff, said in a written sentencing argument.

“I wish the government would give all non-violent sex offenders a boy of their choice and say as long as you don’t hurt him real bad or kill him, you can have sex with him any time you want,” Butler said in the online chat, according to the document Wolff submitted to the court.

In issuing the sentence, Judge Nancy Torresen recounted Butler’s criminal history.

In 1995, Butler was convicted in state court in Maine of two counts of felony sexual assaults in which the victims were an 8-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy. He was sentenced to serve four years of an eight-year sentence in that case and violated the terms of his probation twice, Torresen said.

In 2001, Butler was convicted in the same federal court of receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve 78 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release, she said.

The judge said that just two months after Butler’s most recent term of supervised release ended in February 2013, he had returned to looking at sexually explicit images of children being abused and tortured.

“I think you’ve shown us, you are incapable of stopping yourself,” Torresen said, explaining her sentence. “I can’t see any other way to protect people in our society who are the most vulnerable.”

Torresen’s sentence was halfway between recommendations by Wolff, who asked for a 25-year prison term, and that of Butler’s attorney, David Beneman of the Federal Defenders Office, who argued for a 15-year prison term.

“He’s an extremely high-risk sex offender with an unrelenting sexual interest in young children,” Wolff said.

Beneman argued that Butler suffers from a host of illnesses and likely will not survive a long prison sentence. He said Butler has already had a kidney transplant due to renal failure from being prescribed too much lithium to treat his bipolar disorder.

Beneman also argued that Butler doesn’t seem to re-offend while he is under direct supervision.

Butler, who appeared with a scraggly goatee and mustache and wearing orange-tinted glasses, stood to apologize for his actions before the judge imposed the sentence.

“First and foremost, I want to apologize to all of the kids I re-victimized by looking at all the pics and vids of them,” Butler said, sniffling as he spoke. “By committing these crimes, I have let down my family, particularly my father, and my friends.”

At the end of the hearing, Butler was taken away by members of the U.S. Marshals Service with a recommendation by the judge that he be incarcerated in a federal facility with medical care. He has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 5, 2013.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

Twitter: @scottddolan