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Pornographer who drugged children has big plans to fill ‘virtual life sentence’

Defendant wants to lead a “pro-pedophile” movement from prison, court records say.

Updated: 2012-11-07T05:50:09Z

By MARK MORRIS

The Kansas City Star

James Phillip Edwards, who drugged children with sleeping-pill-laced ice cream so he could create child porn, has plans for the lifetime federal prison sentence he received Tuesday.

Edwards, 63, whom prosecutors have described as “off the charts” and a “serial predator of girls as young as 4 years of age,” has written that he wants to lead a “pro-pedophile” movement from prison, according to court records.

“He is more interested in changing society’s views regarding sex with children than controlling his own deviant interests and behavior,” wrote Kent Franks, a psychologist specializing in sexually violent predators who studied Edwards’ case for prosecutors.

Edwards denied to another mental health professional that he felt any relief at being taken into custody.

“Hell no,” he purportedly said, court records reported. “I enjoyed what I was doing.”

U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple sentenced Edwards to 245 years in prison.

“Your conduct is beyond comprehension to the average person,” Whipple said. “It is my belief you cannot live in society.”

Though Edwards brashly has defended his life as a pedophile in the past, his comments before Whipple on Tuesday were more measured. But he said he still views as “unjust” laws that make what he called voluntary sex between adults and children illegal.

He also offered his “heartfelt regret” to those who were harmed by his actions.

“I got the message and I will never reoffend,” Edwards said. “I still have these feelings. They’re never going to go away.”

Two of Edwards’ victims, who were 11 and 12 at the time they were assaulted, testified that they each have undergone therapy since the assaults and must deal daily with depression and, sometimes, anger.

“This is really not OK for anybody to do this to anyone,” said one young woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe No. 5.

A mother testified that Edwards assaulted two of her daughters.

“I stand here every day to watch them fight to get back to where they were … to where they would feel good about themselves,” she testified. “I think he should have to pay dearly for what he did.”

An Edwards relative whose children were assaulted told Whipple of hearing sentencing preferences among family ranging from “rot in prison for 245 years” to “burn in hell.”

“The only way we’re going to feel safe and secure in this world is if people like this are put away forever,” he said.

Edwards pleaded no contest in March 2011 to 21 counts charging him with production of child pornography, drugging his victims, advertising child porn on the Internet, and possession and attempted distribution of child porn.

Edwards videotaped his assaults on 13 girls over a four-year period and recorded his research on drugging them in a document titled “How to Molest Young Girls,” which investigators found on his computer.

In it, he described mixing sleeping pills into root beer, ice cream or chocolate syrup to disguise the taste.

Authorities also recovered a document called “Pedo Handbook,” in which Edwards included a section on “Drugging Children and Pre-Teens.”

Prosecutors said that all of the molestations charged in this case occurred in Edwards’ south Kansas City home between 2001 and 2005. However, Edwards suggested that the charges did not encompass all of his crimes against children.

“We just moved there in 1999, and I started this in 1997,” Edwards said at his plea hearing.

Edwards’ plan to become a pro-pedophile activist came to light in an article he wrote and which mental health professionals reviewed after he was incarcerated, according to court records.

“In this essay, entitled ‘The Pedophile Minority,’ Edwards declared that he has decided to be the standard-bearer for pedophiles and to start while he is in prison,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham wrote in a memorandum.

Fincham urged Whipple to fashion a “virtual life sentence” for Edwards.

“He has a personal philosophy that encourages others to accept what he’s doing,” Fincham said.

To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send e-mail to mmorris@kcstar.com.

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