BRENTWOOD — An ex-Timberlane middle school teacher convicted of possessing child pornography is asking to be released early from state prison.
Scott Buatti, 48, of Newton, petitioned a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to suspend the remainder of his prison term after spending 17 months behind bars.
Buatti began serving a 2- to 4-year state prison sentence in December 2012 after losing an appeal before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
A jury convicted him of 10 counts of possession of child pornography in April 2011.
Defense lawyer Mark Sisti said in court papers that Buatti would end up serving more than his 2-year minimum prison term if he was required to undergo the state’s Sex Offender Program behind the prison’s walls.
Sisti is proposing that the remainder of Buatti’s prison sentence should be suspended so that he can be freed on parole and participate in a sex-offender program in Plymouth.
“He will exceed his minimum parole date if he were now to begin and complete the (sex offender program) behind the walls,” Sisti said in court papers.
Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard protested Buatti’s request, saying that the court has no authority to amend Buatti’s prison sentence or become involved with how he receives sex offender treatment.
“In fact, the defendant doesn’t give the court any reason to suspend the balance of his minimum sentence,” Blanchard argued in court papers.
Blanchard asked Judge Kenneth McHugh, who presided over Buatti’s 2011 trial, to reject the request without a hearing.
Buatti was a gym teacher who taught at Timberlane Middle School for 19 years until his 2009 indictment prompted his resignation. He was first approached by Immigrations Customs Enforcement agents at his home on Feb. 25, 2008 after a federal investigation tracked down 5,000 subscribers in the U.S. to child pornography web sites.
ICE agents testified that Buatti was identified in their investigation after he paid $79.95 to subscribe to web sites and used his home email address with his subscription.
At trial, Buatti denied ever viewing child pornography. But ICE agents testified that Buatti acknowledged during an interview that he had looked and kept images of girls as young as 8 or 9 years old on his computer.