PENDLETON - A Umatilla man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing boys, but 13 charges involving child pornography were dismissed against him during a hearing Thursday.
The alleged child porn images were computer generated, and similar to cartoons, said defense attorney Michael Breiling.
Because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the prosecution would need to show an actual child was harmed for there to be a crime, Breiling said.
If that wasn't the case, the courts would criminalizing actual thought, which would be covered by the First Amendment as free speech, he added.
"Once the Internet stuff fell away, all we had was a touch case," Breiling said.
Robert James Black, 47, likely will serve nearly two years in prison according to the plea agreement.
Black said the boys he abused lived in the same neighborhood as he did. "They were guests in my home quite regularly," he told Judge Rudy Murgo.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sex abuse, second-degree sex abuse for performing a deviant sex act on a boy, and three counts of third-degree sex abuse for touching the groin of three boys.
All other charges were dismissed.
Black originally was charged with first-degree sex abuse, three counts of second-degree sex abuse, nine counts of third-degree sex abuse, eight counts of using a child in a display of sexual conduct, and five counts of possession of sexual material involving children.
The crimes happened in 1999, but Black went on the lam for nearly two years, said prosecutor Kristi Hagey.
He was arrested on a failure to appear warrant last summer, she added.
The law changed since the time Black was indicted, in January 2000, Hagey said.
A sentencing hearing for Black has been set for May 6.