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Man who lived in storage unit full of child porn sentenced to prison

Investigators found Cathedral City man living in a storage unit full of child porn

A 73-year-old man who was arrested while living in a Cathedral City storage unit full of child pornography was sentenced Monday to 2-1/2 years in federal prison.

Richard L. Arlington pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. Upon his release from prison, he will spend 10 years under supervised probation and will have to register as a sex offender.

Arlington once shared a house in Palm Springs with Walter Lee Williams, a former USC professor who was sentenced last week to five years in federal prison for flying to the Philippines and sexually assaulting boys he had met online. 

Both Arlington and Williams were members of a religious group called the Buddhist Universal Assn. of Los Angeles, which espoused an ideology of extreme sexual freedoms, the FBI said.

According to court documents, Arlington told a "concerned citizen" that men were still allowed to have sex with young boys, even after taking vows of celibacy.

In a Cathedral City storage unit rented under Arlington's name, investigators found "pedophilosophy," pornographic images -- and Arlington, who apparently was living in the unit.

Investigators also found child pornography in his email account, under the subject line "Hello for you this is the boys pics ok," and emails seeking explicit images from a 14-year-old Filipino boy. 

During his sentencing Monday, Arlington and his lawyer both blamed his behavior on the "influence" of Williams, City News Service reported. Williams, a former gender studies professor at USC, was captured in the Mexican coastal town of Playa del Carmen in June 2013, a day after he made the FBI's Most Wanted List.

In a note from 2011, Williams wrote to Arlington thanking him for suggesting that he travel to the Philippines, and that he and the boys he met "have basically stayed at the hotel and not gone out at all," the Associated Press reported.

But older photographs found in the Cathedral City storage unit indicated that Arlington was interested in child porn before he met Williams, according to court documents. Investigators found handwritten journals where he expressed his "deep-seeded and strong sexual desire" for boys.

"I made a big mistake and it is the biggest of my life," Arlington wrote in a letter submitted to U.S. District Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez. "The Almity [sic] Buddha said 2,500 years ago, 'There never was any person and never will be any person, and does not exist any person, who does not make any mistake.' Therefore, every human being deserves mercy and compassion."

For more Los Angeles news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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