The son of a man who stood before Judge Cindy Morris on an Internet “traveler” sex case, giving pre-sentence testimony about his father, could barely contain his emotions Tuesday in Whitfield County Superior Court.
“Take your time,” Morris counseled.
Other family members and also a psychologist who has had Ronald Martin “Marty” Stamps, 47, of Alpharetta, as a client since his October 2010 arrest also spoke on his behalf. Stamps was arrested in October 2010 on a charge of criminal attempt of statutory rape at the Willowdale Lodge by a Dalton Police Department officer who was a child sex crimes task force member. Agents said Stamps had arranged to meet with what he thought were two girls, ages 12 and 14, to have sex. Detective John Helton was the lead investigator.
Stamps was eventually charged with three counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony and pleaded guilty to one since Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer recommended he not be prosecuted on two of the counts. Stamps had no prior arrest, Kenemer added.
Morris sentenced Stamps to 10 years, with four years in prison and the remainder on probation. He was also given a $2,000 fine plus court costs and surcharges, 250 hours of community service and special conditions given to sex offenders.
Kenemer said Stamps had “numerous explicit sexual conversations” with contacts he thought were two young girls but were actually task force members. He said Stamps had condoms when he was arrested.
Stamps’ brother Gregory said they are a “very close family.”
“We learn from our mistakes ... (and) we’re always there for our kids,” he said.
Dr. Kevin Baldwin, a psychologist with The Highland Institute in Atlanta that offers specialized treatment for adult and adolescent sex offenders and individuals engaged in sexually compulsive behaviors, also testified for Stamps.
Baldwin called Stamps’ arrest part of a “sting operation” and said Stamps was “low risk for future sexual offenses” during a 25-minute address to the court.
Near the end of his testimony, Morris provided her understanding of compulsion and asked Baldwin how Stamps’ “compulsion” “fit into driving here for one-and-a-half to two hours” to meet what Stamps thought were two underage girls.
Marty Stamps then spoke and said he “made a terrible mistake” and apologized to the court and his family for creating the “situation.”
“My judgment was clouded by irrational thinking and indecency ... I’ve never been in trouble with the law and never harmed anyone, especially children,” he said.
Gwinnett County attorney Amy Carter, who represented Stamps, said he “has huge family support and no record.” Carter told Morris she had prosecuted sex crimes for 10 years.
“He told a police officer he didn’t think he could go through with this ... he’s not a typical client,” she said.
Carter said Stamps sought treatment at The Highland Institute.
“That’s telling. He tried to help himself so that this would never be a problem again ... he’s willing to submit to any conditions,” she said, including an ankle monitor and intense probation.
Carter closed by saying there were “no actual victims.”
But Morris scanned the gallery of the court where Stamps’ family was sitting.
“Look at the row of people supporting you,” Morris said. “This is not a victimless crime — you’ve got victims.”
Morris noted there were “factors” that weighed in Stamps’ favor, including no prior arrest, the family support and the fact he had sought help.
“But the court also has to look at the fact you drove in from out of town, and somewhere on I-75 you should have thought of your family and turned around at an exit,” Morris said.