The key quotes are:
Gons G. Nachman, 42, had sought leniency, claiming among other things that cultural differences in those countries made sex with teenage girls more acceptable. But U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee took the unusual step of imposing consecutive 10-year terms for the two counts on which Nachman was convicted.
"I reject out of hand completely the idea that I should take into account cultural differences," Lee said. He said even if such differences exist, Nachman was answerable to U.S. standards and U.S. law while working as a diplomat on embassy grounds.
His defense lawyers argued that Nachman documented all aspects of his life, and that the sex tapes should be viewed from that perspective. "This gentleman is not a predatory, manipulative, child sex abuser," said defense attorney Lorilee Gates.
A second defense attorney, John Tran, said cultural norms in Brazil and Congo should be taken into account. He noted embassy officials were indifferent when Nachman brought a 17-year-old girl to the embassy as his date. "As repugnant as it may be to us, in some parts of the world no one turns an eye when someone is walking around with someone who looks like his daughter as a date," Tran said.
His attorneys had suggested the six months he has already spent in prison would be sufficient.
[TSB Note: Personally, I'd be willing to reduce Nachman's sentence by a few years if only we could give his lawyers some prison time.]
In court, Nachman apologized to his victims and the U.S. Foreign Service. "I've had this self-centered streak that has caused me to be where I am," he said.
We should not overlook that fact that it wasn't Gons's self-centered streak that put him where he used to be: in positions of trust from which he could easily prey on the vulnerable. Two separate agencies of the U.S. government, the Immigration and Naturalization Service [now the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services] and the State Department, commissioned him as an Asylum Officer and a Vice Consul, respectively. One can only hope that the appropriate U.S. government officials will re-visit our background investigation and security clearance procedures with the Nachman case in mind, and in that way some good might come of this sad episode.