CLEARFIELD – A Rockton man accused of exchanging nude photos with a 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty in Clearfield County Court Tuesday.
David Wayne Kitchen, 61, was the subject of an investigation involving a juvenile who was exchanging both explicit videos and photos through Facebook messenger.
According to the affidavit, an adult who had an account under the name Eric Anderson, who supposedly lived in Pittsburgh and was in his 20’s was actually Kitchen.
During court Tuesday, defense attorney David P. King told Judge Paul Cherry that Kitchen had cooperated during the investigation, realizes that what he did was wrong and recognizes his guilt in this case.
“This is not representative of who he is,” King said, adding that Kitchen is “a good man.”
Several people provided letters of support for him and others spoke out in court, outlining his willingness to help others and involvement with churches.
The first described him as an “all-around nice guy” and one whose character he never questioned until the charges were filed.
Another stated he would do whatever it takes “to help him stay on the right path.”
His sister spoke about how much their elderly father depends on Kitchen and commented that “he is not a bad person. He is a human.”
She also read a statement from their father that asked the judge to consider his dependence on Kitchen.
Linda Kitchen, his wife, noted that he regrets his actions and is very remorseful. This one dark thing in his life does not take away from the good he has done, she said.
When Kitchen himself addressed the court, he admitted he failed, and apologized to the victim, the victim’s family and his own family. He thanked others for their support especially his wife, for staying “by my side.”
“This last year has been hell and I am ready to put this behind me.”
Deputy Assistant District Attorney Trudy Lumadue explained this was an open plea, which means the judge would decide his sentence but she suggested Cherry give Kitchen a 12-month minimum sentence.
Cherry commented that Kitchen’s actions impacted a lot of people and he needs intense therapy so he did not repeat his crime.
He called Kitchen’s wife a “wonderful woman” who was doing what many others would not do, by staying with him.
He noted her words had an influence on the court’s consideration of the case and stated that Kitchen was “fortunate to have someone like her.”
He acknowledged that Kitchen’s actions in this case tainted everything else he had done.
Cherry then sentenced Kitchen to nine months to two years less one day in the county jail plus five years consecutive probation for sexual abuse of a child-photo/video depicting on computer or filming sexual acts and possession of child pornography, both felony counts, and one misdemeanor count of corruption of minors.
Kitchen was ordered to complete sex offender counseling and he must register with law enforcement under Megan’s Law even though he was not determined to be a sexually violent predator.
The criminal complaint details how the victim met “Eric Anderson” after “Anderson” sent him a friend request on Facebook. They exchanged messages, photos and explicit videos for about a year beginning in 2018.
At one point, the victim told “Anderson” that he was only 14 but “Anderson” continued to request nude photos.
After the “Anderson” account and messages were traced to Kitchen, he told investigators that he had been using the “Eric Anderson” name on the Internet to talk to men for about six or seven years.
He did not seem to remember the victim or the message when he was told that boy was only 14.
Reportedly Kitchen stated “well, if you have it in black and white, I must have done it. I can’t believe I did this.”