A former Pentagon official from San Diego pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing child pornography.
According to court records Wade Rowland Sanders, 67, admitted that on or around May 2nd, he had a computer which he knew contained more than 600 images of minors, including a 21 minute video. In the video, several prepubescent girls were engaged in sexual conduct with an adult male and performing oral sex on one another, according to U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt.
At the time of his arrest, Sanders was the Senior Advisor for Veterans and Military Affairs to Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi. "Retired Navy Captain Wade Sanders resigned on November 8, 2008 as senior advisor for military and veterans affairs after he was booked on the charge. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in this office," Beth Willon, communications director for the Lieutenant Governor said.
Sanders provided expert commentary for many media outlets, including NBC 7/39. Watch Sanders on KPBS Full Focus discussing the militatry's role in the post Cold War era.
Sanders is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam war. He has received several honors including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.
In a telephon interview Monday night, Sanders told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he had downloaded the files as part of his research on an article on the sexual exploitation of children in foreign countries. The article quotes Sanders as saying "I have no sexual attraction to children whatsoever."
Sanders told the paper he didn't realize federal laws barred downloading or viewing the material even by researchers.
Sentencing for Sanders is scheduled for March 30. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supevised release and registration as a sex offender. Under a plea bargain, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a prison sentence of five to six years, according to the Los Angeles Times.