Former City Councilor Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

Former Birmingham City Councilor Don McDermott, who was indicted on federal child porn charges in September, pleaded guilty this morning to receiving and possessing child pornography. No sentencing date has been set, but one of the charges carries a five-year minimum.

City and federal agents seized computers, hard drives and other materials from MacDermott’s home in August. They found 129 pornographic photographs and four short videos, all depicting girls.

The defendant, who faces heart surgery later this month, was allowed to remain free on bond until he is sentenced. Coogler ordered him not to be alone with minors and to stay at least 500 feet away from schools and day care centers.

MacDermott also faces a related state child pornography charge, but has not been indicted.

A commenter at al.com asks, “Wasn’t MacDermott a very conservative, Christian Coalition candidate? What happened to him?” My response: “What else is new?”

15 Responses to “Former City Councilor Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges”

  1. Del says:

    Well, at least it was girls.

  2. Kathy says:

    There’s that. And they were live girls, AFAIK.

    /snark

  3. This just makes me so mad, because McDermott beat a really good Council member in a nasty election. It was the same year my husband ran for City Council (ten years ago – how time flies!) and in District 1 and District 2 there was a lot of nastiness, stirred up mostly by Jimmy Blake. McDermott didn’t really run as the moral candidate, but more as an anti-Arrington candidate. Byron Davis, the incumbent was a genuinely good guy. I must say that there were not any rumors in either the ’93 or ’97 campaigns that McDermott was a pedophile. He was, however, a sleazy weasel.

  4. Kathy says:

    Jimmy Blake stirring up nastiness? Say it ain’t so. :) And by anti-Arrington, may I assume McDermott was running as “white” rather than “genuinely concerned about Arrington’s policies”?

  5. John Killian says:

    Not at all defending what MacDermott did, but I read nothing that said Don was involved in acting out lewd acts. That seems to be assumed by some of these posts.

  6. Jack says:

    Lisa in Hoover, you say that E. Byron Davis was a “genunely good guy”? Find out why he quit being a Baptist preacher –he wasn’t such a “genuniely good guy.”
    Davis was elected in conservative District One and proceeded to support the Arrington Administration on virtually every vote. THAT is why Mr Davis lost the election.
    E. Byron Davis was about as worthless as a city council member could be.

  7. Jack, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I was actually working for the City Council when Byron was a member, and I liked him. He did a good job as a council member. I also worked with Arrington and liked him, and interestingly, the anti-Arrington candidate who won in District 2, Bill Johnson, turned into an Arrington supporter once he got to know the mayor. I’m not from Birmingham, so even after having worked for eight years with people in the Eastern area, I was unprepared for the visceral hatred people expressed for Arrington and anyone associated with him. It was, and remains, irrational.

    John – you are right, McDermott hasn’t been accused of any lewd acts and might not have done anything else. I just didn’t know what other word to use, but I’ll make sure to be accurate.

  8. Del says:

    Well, speaking of pedophilia, are these “girls” pre- or post-pubescent? Although that is an irrelevant distinction in certain circles, I think it’s important.

  9. Tricia says:

    If y’alls point is that child pornography is some sort of “victimless crime” unless the guy was actually raping these girls himself, then you scare me.

    Underage girls pre- or post-pubescent cannot legally consent to participate in pornography — it’s called statutory rape. And now I have to go throw up…

  10. Jennifer says:

    Del, I completely agree with you. There’s a universe of difference between looking at naked five year olds and naked 15 year olds. Although it’s all disturbing. And even if he wasn’t acting out, just looking at the pictures and being in possession of them still constitutes a crime. He is keeping the child porn rings going with his purchase. And, well, basically, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Cousin Roy says:

    Del, the photos were of young girls. That’s why the feds throw the book at you just for possessing the stuff. By no means is the distinction irrelevant.

  12. Kathy says:

    I suppose the distinction is relevant in that the end user might not be able to tell the difference between a 15 year old girl and a young adult woman, but I don’t see an entire universe of difference between a 5 year old and a 15 year old. Both have been exploited by adults, whether for sexual gratification or economic gain, and neither has sufficient maturity to give informed consent. (Yeah, I know there are plenty of sexually active 15 year olds out there. That doesn’t speak well of their decision-making skills or understanding of long-term consequences, IMHO.) If a 15 year old is the subject of pornographic pictures or movies, there is an adult involved somehow, actively encouraging/forcing participation or at the least looking the other way.

    Teen porn may not give us the visceral grossout of the kiddie kind, and it’s probably harder to prosecute (I understand that some producers superimpose younger faces on adult bodies in order to get around the law), but it’s still a violation of the children involved.

  13. John Killian says:

    Please do not think that I am defending child pornography. Some of the comments on the matter seemed to imply action taken with a child. Perhaps I misunderstood and am not accusing anyone on this board.
    Let the record state, however, that Mr. MacDermott is accused of viewing the obscene materials and not participating in the acts themselves.
    My purpose is only for clarity and not for defense of viewing obscene material.

  14. Jack says:

    Lisa from Hoover,
    When your husband was a candidate in 1997, he dodged the accusation of being an Arrington supporter. Thank you for “coming out of the closet” as a supporter of Dick Arrington.
    You may have liked Byron Davis. Since you and Byron Davis both had/have a high opinion of the Arrington administration, it stands to reason that you would like Davis as well.
    The 1997 council elections paved the way for the election of Mayor Kincaid. History will prove that the eight years of the Kincaid Administration were a respite from the corruptness of the Arrington regime and the craziness of the Langford domain.
    You can criticize Jimmy Blake, if you wish, but Jimmy was a voice crying in the wilderness against the misdeeds in City Hall during the period of which you speak.

  15. John Killian says:

    Please do not take my comments, previously given, as a defense of child pornography. I simply wanted to make the point that the subject of the crime was not accused of physical involvement or harm to a child. Viewing is bad enough, but not that for which the subject was accused.

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