(CBS/AP) Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 27 years for Geoffrey Portway, a Worcester, Mass. man whom authorities say built a dungeon in his basement and plotted to abduct, kill and eat children.
Portway pleaded guilty in April to solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and possession and distribution of child pornography. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors and Portway's lawyer agreed to a sentencing range of 18 years to a little over 27 years.
In a sentencing memo filed Tuesday, prosecutors argued for the maximum sentence, saying that online chats from Portway's computer prove he was serious about his plans to rape, kill and eat a child. They say he solicited others to help in the plan.
"Many of these conversations were accompanied by the trading of child pornography. These chats also included images of children known to them, accompanied by discussions of the desire to sexually abuse, murder and cannibalize those children," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a May statement.
Authorities say they uncovered a "dungeon" in Portway's basement. CBS Boston reports the room was sound-proofed and contained handcuffs and a child-sized coffin. Disposable scalpels were also uncovered, the Associated Press reports.
"This man looks like he went beyond just having ideas," Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin told CBS Boston. "He made plans. He prepared by investing in a torture chamber. I think he would have done it."
Portway may try to argue that the chats were part of a "fantasy life," prosecutors said the memo, but they say "evidence clearly shows that is untrue."
"In the chats, Portway becomes tired of people engaged in role play or fantasy, telling no less than 15 chat partners he is serious about wanting to kill and eat a child," prosecutors said in the memo.
The documents included excerpts from the online chats, including with thereports the Boston Herald., a puppeteer who prosecutors say planned along with Portway to kidnap children he knew through his work at a local church,
Portway's lawyer, Richard Sweeney, said he plans to argue for the low end of the sentencing range, about 18 years at a Sept. 17 sentencing in U.S. District Court in Worcester.
Portway is a British citizen who has lived in the United States most of his life. He was among dozens of people arrested in an international child porn investigation.