Thursday, August 13, 2020
Aug. 13, 2020

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Vancouver business owner sentenced to 46 months for possession of child porn

Attorney, defendant explained that he was trying to identify the perpetrators

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

A local industrial designer and inventor of the Cuddle Mattress who pleaded guilty in March to possessing child pornography was sentenced Friday to 46 months in prison.

Mehdi Mojtabavi, 45, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He faced 46 to 61 months in prison.

The man’s attorney, Steve Thayer, told the court that Mojtabavi entered the guilty pleas because he had no defense to present at trial. Both Thayer and the defendant explained that Mojtabavi had downloaded the child pornography, not for sexual gratification, but to try to identify the perpetrators.

However, he didn’t think his actions through, Mojtabavi admitted during the sentencing hearing.

Thayer asked that his client be given a sentence below the standard range.

A detective with the Vancouver Police Department executed a search warrant May 17, 2017, at Asayesh Incorporated, 5107 N.E. 94th Ave., Suite C, which is owned by Mojtabavi, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Asayesh Incorporated is the parent company of Cuddle Mattress. The namesake mattress, which has horizontal slits to allow for easier cuddling, was designed by Mojtabavi in 2007, according to the business’ website.

Detectives seized a computer at the business and found images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the affidavit states.

In a lengthy statement to the court — much of it about Mojtabavi’s childhood in Iran and his professional accomplishments — he stated that he enjoys “life drawing” in his spare time. He said he was downloading images to use as a child model and accidentally downloaded child pornography. Mojtabavi told the court the video triggered memories of his own childhood abuse, and with his design background, he thought he could help police identify the perpetrators — so he kept the images. Journal entries he read aloud to the court apparently documented his pursuit.

Mojtabavi called the situation a “disastrous misunderstanding” and described his actions as naive. He told the judge he hopes he finds him to be sincere about what happened.

In his brief comments, Judge Bernard Veljacic said he didn’t feel the case warranted a sentence below the standard range and handed down the prosecution’s recommended 46 months.

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