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Wade Sanders lost his honorable reputation when the former Pentagon official, retired Navy captain and one-time congressional candidate pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in 2008.
Now, he also has lost the Silver Star awarded in 1992 for bravery against the enemy in Vietnam.
A longtime San Diego resident, Sanders earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving aboard Swift boats during the Vietnam War. From 1993 to 1997, he served as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for reserve affairs under President Bill Clinton.
Sanders had served with Sen. John K
Originally posted by BlesUTP
i do not condone this mans actions in any way, shape or form.
but with that being said, it seems senseless and a bit unnecessary to take away a medal he earned decades ago for a crime he committed today.
In a 2008 interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Sanders said he had downloaded the files as part of his research for an article on the sexual exploitation of children in foreign countries. He said his work for the Clinton administration had included aiding victims of child sex abuse in the former Yugoslavia.
"I have no sexual attraction to children whatsoever," he said then. "There was no evil intent."
Sanders, a lawyer, said he didn't realize federal child pornography laws barred downloading or viewing the material even by researchers. He said that is why he decided to plead guilty. "I thought since my motives were pure and innocent, that would make a difference. I'm technically guilty of the crime."
In a letter to the judge in his case, Sanders said then that post-traumatic stress disorder was a factor in his bad judgment. "There is a part of me that died in Vietnam and now, for the first time in my life I am facing that reality," the letter said.
Federal prosecutors said Sanders possessed computer files containing 600 images of minors, including a 21-minute video that depicted girls engaging in sex acts with an adult man.
The case against the former Navy hero started in October 2007, when an FBI agent went online to search for people sharing child pornography using a file-sharing computer network. The agent entered a search term widely used by pornographers, and among the results returned was one that eventually linked to Sanders' home computer. A few months later, FBI agents raided Sanders' San Diego home.
Prosecutors said that, at the time of the raid, Sanders never mentioned a research project to FBI agents, nor did investigators find notes or other materials relating to such a project.