Well-known shark expert sentenced

Well-known shark expert sentenced

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A well-known expert on sharks will serve two months in jail for possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi also sentenced Randy Honebrink to one year of home detention and fined him $5,000.

"I think the judge was insightful, thoughtful and understood that this was a situation that required an atypical sentence," said Honebrink's attorney William Harrison.

The jail term is two years less than what the 58-year-old Makiki man could have received. That's because Honebrink had no criminal record, received nearly two dozen letters of support from friends and fellow church members and was already receiving treatment for what he described as a "fixation" with young boys.

During Thursday's hearing, federal prosecutor Darren Ching said Honebrink possessed two pornographic images of 12 to 14 year-old boys on his computer. Ching also cited a report from a therapist in which Honebrink admitted to looking at young boys' genitals while they were using public restrooms.

Honebrink told the judge that he was sorry for his behavior and that he had taken steps to be released from his "dark way of thinking."

"My voyeuristic behavior was wrong," he said.

"I am deeply ashamed ... I've brought shame to my family."

According to experts, treatment programs are often effective when it comes to nonviolent sex offenders.

"If a person has no known sexual acting out history or history of inappropriate sexual (behavior), the fact that he has pornography doesn't predict anything," said local clinical psychologist Craig Robinson.

"We do know that sexual treatment program tend to have significantly reduced recidivism rates."

The state would not say if Honebrink is still employed at the Department of Land and Natural Resources but his attorney said he could lose his job. As part of his sentence, Honebrink is required to register as a sex offender.

"He's gotten a lot of negative publicity already so it's going to impact his employment. And if he does continue his employment, it still going to affect him because of his registration issues," Harrison said.

The investigation was conducted by postal inspectors and stemmed from a global child pornography investigation dubbed Operation Spade. The target of that investigation was a Canadian company called Azov Film Co. which distributed child pornography materials around the world.

In court documents, investigators said they found records of pornographic material purportedly purchased through Honebrink's email and credit card accounts.

But they said they were not able to prove that Honebrink had in fact received any materials from Azov and dropped that part of the investigation. Instead, they only found the images of the two boys on Honebrink's computer.

Honebrink will begin his sentence at the Federal Detention Center on Oct. 16.

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