WHEATON – A former Wheaton College Christian education professor and children’s spirituality author who pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of child pornography in August was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Tuesday, according to a news release from the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Donald Ratcliff, 62, of the 2S500 block of Continental Drive, Warrenville, had between 500 and 1,000 images and videos containing child pornography when his computers were seized from his residence in March 2012, the release stated.
At the time, Ratcliff lived in Carol Stream, and the investigation was led by the Carol Stream Police Department, who identified that his IP address had downloaded pornographic images of children, according to previous Suburban Life Media reports.
He was originally charged with seven counts, but pled guilty to one as part of a blind plea, and faced as many as seven years in prison. He will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, according to the release.
“To say child pornography is a victimless crime is simply not true,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “Each one of these photographs and videos represents a victim. They are not just images, they are real children who have been subjected to unbearable pain and humiliation just to satisfy the disgusting sexual desires of people such as Mr. Ratcliff.”
Ratcliff taught at Wheaton College at the time he was charged and has written 10 books about children’s spirituality during his career.