Court

A child pornographer has agreed to pay $400,000 to two of his Tri-Cities victims for counseling, medical bills and other expenses.

Dale G. Black, 63, originally was asked to pay nearly $1 million, but representatives for the two underage kids recently signed off on the lower amount.

Each kid will receive $200,000, spread out in monthly payments, for future costs of dealing with the trauma's aftermath. The money will come through a structured, guaranteed settlement annuity purchased by Black.

The Kennewick man is serving a 30-year sentence for the sexual abuse and child pornography crimes. He currently is locked up at federal prison in Sheridan, Ore.

Black already has paid $19,150 in restitution to a third victim, along with $305,000 in fines which include $5,000 under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

A nuclear engineer, he previously gave federal prosecutors a $185,900 cashier's check for the sale proceeds of his Ridgeline at Canyon Lakes house to prevent the seizure of his new home. He also forfeited his 2015 Subaru Legacy, which was sold by the federal government for $15,300.

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Sexually explicit videos of the three kids were produced both at his West 30th Avenue house and on overnight trips that he took alone with the children to Oregon. Those trips are why he was forced to forfeit his Subaru as part of the case.

Sexual predator

Black met the children in his neighborhood and through his work at that time with Ignite Youth Mentoring, a faith-based nonprofit that provided mentoring relationships for at-risk youths.

"Sexual predation and exploitation of children are heinous crimes. That Dale Black preyed on vulnerable children through his participation in a youth mentorship program make his crimes even more egregious," U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop previously said.

"Victims of child pornography can never be truly compensated for what they suffered and endured," added Hyslop with the Eastern District of Washington.

He said Black's lengthy prison term, the forfeiture of his assets and the restitution ordered serve "as a stern warning to offenders that you will be held accountable for your actions."

The order entered by Senior Judge Ed Shea in Richland's U.S. District Court comes three months after Hyslop gave $155,000 to the Kennewick and Richland police departments as part of an asset-sharing program.

The investigation into Black's activities was handled by the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the FBI.

Black was indicted in June 2018 and pleaded guilty six months later to three counts of production of child pornography.

He also pleaded guilty last fall in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree child rape and first- and third-degree child molestation. He was sentenced to 26 1/2 years for those crimes, which will be served along with the federal term.

Restitution is mandatory under federal law to compensate the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation for the full amount of their losses.

That includes the care required to address the long-term effects of their abuse, like therapy, rehabilitation and physical, psychiatric or psychological medical needs.

Whether or not a defendant has the ability to pay the restitution is immaterial to a judge's order.

Prosecutors had been negotiating since last year with defense attorney Scott Johnson over the amount. They wanted to get it finalized in case Black dies while in prison, because a person's estate is responsible for any unpaid balance on a restitution judgment.

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