Crime

Bellingham soccer ref gets three years for having child porn

A former Bellingham soccer referee will spend three years in federal prison for posing as a teenage girl to obtain child pornography on the Internet.

Timon Anderson Berry, 28, portrayed himself as a 15-year-old girl interested in images of girls 12 to 16 years old, according to charging papers filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. He told investigators that he was the only person who accessed an email account used almost exclusively for trading child or adult pornography, charges say.

Berry was charged with distribution and possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to the latter charge in March. On July 10, 2015, he was sentenced to three years in federal prison to be followed by seven years of supervised release, according to court documents.

Berry, of Bellingham, was the vice president of youth for the Whatcom County Soccer Referees Association prior to his November 2014 arrest.

He began at the age of 11 as a local youth soccer referee, and eventually worked his way up to refereeing college and professional soccer matches, sometimes for the Seattle Reign. He refereed local youth matches until 2011.

Sex crimes investigators raided a home where Berry lived just outside of Bellingham city limits on Jan. 23, 2014, after tracing an email account back to him that had more than 1,300 messages referencing or containing pornographic images or videos, most of them depicting minors, charges say.

In addition to being a soccer referee, Berry told investigators he was employed by the Pacific Violence Prevention Institute as a lead trainer, specializing in faith-based bullying and harassment prevention training, according to charges.

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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