Vancouver man sentenced to 25 years in child porn case

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: April 6, 2012, 5:58 PM

 

A Vancouver man who once served as volunteer youth pastor was sentenced Friday to at least 25 years in prison for producing pornography of two children.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan handed down the sentence to Michael Scott Norris, 45, in federal court in Tacoma. The punishment is 25 years to life in prison; in 25 years, Norris can go before a sentencing review board, which decides when he’s fit to be released.

In August, Norris pleaded guilty to 11 counts of production of child pornography.

“The most important part of the sentence was to protect the public,” the judge said at sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Norris, who volunteered as a pastor and camp counselor at Open Bible Church in Southeast Portland at the time of his August 2006 arrest, still has a pending sex abuse case in Clark County.

Prosecutors here charged him with raping and molesting a girl and her brother between 2003 and 2006. The children named in Clark County’s charges are the same victims as in the federal case. Authorities have said the siblings were family friends of Norris’ and also went to his church.

In March 2011, Norris admitted in a written statement to the charges and agreed to plead guilty in Clark County Superior Court once his federal case was resolved. Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey said Friday that Norris can now be transported back to Clark County for a hearing to enter his guilty plea and a sentencing.

35 years concurrently

Through his attorney, Norris agreed to a 35-year sentence for his local charges. Harvey said Norris would serve that sentence at the same time as he serves his federal sentence.

The federal judge, after hearing testimony that Norris had been abused as a child, went with a lesser sentence Friday than prosecutors had recommended.

Federal agents raided Norris’ home in August 2006 as part of a nationwide Internet child pornography sting. Agents seized his computer, where they found the pornographic videos and images.

Norris’ case has been in limbo since 2006 over an evidence dispute. Prosecutors, citing a federal law precluding them from distributing child pornography, would not give the tapes to defense attorney Clayton Spencer, who said he needed them to prepare a defense and move forward to trial.

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled in 2010 that state law requires prosecutors to hand over the tapes; Norris was indicted on the federal charges in January 2011.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.