Former middle school band director pleaded guilty to child porn charges, sentenced to probation

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A former middle school band teacher has been sentenced for possessing and distributing child pornography.

However, some people are shocked by the judge's decision.

In December of 2012, Eric Mowery was arrested and charged with five counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography.

At the time of his arrest, Mowery was the band director for Hefner Middle School in Oklahoma City.

Mowery pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.

From the beginning, Mowery's attorney says his client knew that he was in big trouble.

Court records show some of the videos found in his possession featured children the same age as those he taught.

Attorney Ed Blau says Mowery immediately began the rehabilitation process after his arrest.

On Monday, in what some consider a surprising decision, an Oklahoma County judge sentenced him to 15 years of probation.

The judge's decision means Mowery will not spend any time in jail.

"This was a very unusual outcome for a case like this," said Blau.

Blau believes the rehab, along with testimony from Mowery's therapist, played a role in the judge's decision.

"When a prosecutor is recommending five years in prison and the judge chooses not to give someone prison time or even community service, that tells you that judge was moved somehow by all the things we were able to present at the sentencing," he said.

Blau says part of that testimony included evidence that the crimes that Mowery admitted to committing are treatable.

Despite that testimony, some in the community are still shocked by Judge Glenn Jones' decision.

"You may not be touching children around you but somewhere, halfway around the world, a child is being abused because you're creating the product, the market for it," said Bibek Bhattarai.

As part of his sentence, Mowery must also continue treatment for at least five years.

He must also register as a sex offender.

"He's been given a second chance and he knows if he doesn't do everything the judge ordered him to do, he'll go to prison," Blau said.

The district attorney's office refused to comment on the case.

Mowery is no longer a band director and is now working an hourly job at a factory.