Herman Metcalf MUG

Herman Metcalf

An Inverness man was sentenced to a decade behind bars Wednesday afternoon for downloading and stockpiling child pornography.

Herman Metcalf, 49, must also serve five years of sex-offender probation following his 10 years in prison, Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard ordered at Metcalf’s hearing.

After Metcalf’s July 10 trial, at which prosecutors presented evidence that Metcalf had over four and 1/2 hours of the illicit materials, a jury found him guilty of a second-degree felony count of promoting sexual performance by a child, and eight third-degree felony counts of possessing child pornography.

Metcalf’s wife, two sons, older brother and attorney pleaded with Howard at Wednesday’s sentencing to sentence him to the lightest possible punishment allowed — 38 months — so they could spend more time with him before his health deteriorates.

Howard could have sentenced Metcalf, who had no criminal record, to up to 55 years.

“I don’t want my brother to die in prison,” Metcalf’s brother Floyd told the judge. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Metcalf’s son Morgan said he guesses his father has about five years left to live.

“He’s the best dad I could ever ask for; I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world,” he said. “I’m just asking for compassion and humanity.”

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Metcalf into custody last July after a warrant was issued for his arrest following an investigation that began in February 2018.

Through an online file-sharing site, sheriff’s-office Detective Chris Cornell was able to download illicit material that was shared digitally from an IP address associated with Metcalf’s home, according to reports. Cornell found the material had been shared by the address since October 2017.

During an April 2018 search of Metcalf’s home, deputies found eight videos on a USB thumb drive that showed children of various ages — from 5 years old to teenagers — performing sexual acts.

Assistant State Attorney Shannon Schlarf said on Wednesday that Metcalf’s actions warranted a stiff sentence.

“He is part of the system that allows the continual victimization of these children,” the prosecutor said.

Howard said while Metcalf abided by the law for nearly half a century, he still broke the law “in the most grievous manner.”

“The images that were shown to the jury panel were so onerous, so wicked as to go beyond my ability to explain them; images so troubling, so horrible as to literally be life-shortening,” the judge said. “I would hope that no one ever sees that evidence again.”

If Metcalf makes it to his probationary term, he will have to wear a GPS monitoring device and have no contact with people under the age of 18 years old, Howard also ordered.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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