Ex-physician sentenced to six years for child porn

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – David Callahan Schaff, once a doctor in three states, was sentenced Monday to federal prison for violating child pornography laws.
Senior Judge Neal B. Biggers sentenced him to 72 months in prison and six years supervised release, once he has served his time. Schaff also must register as a sex offender.
The 60-year-old former radiologist from Tupelo and Oxford faced from five to 20 years and a $250,000 fine on the charge to which he pleaded guilty March 14 in the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi.
The one count, on which he was sentenced, was for using a computer intentionally to transport images of child pornography across interstate and foreign lines.
A pre-sentence report by the U.S. Probation Service recommended Schaff serve 12-15 years in prison.
Last November, a federal grand jury indicted him on two counts, the second being possession of child pornography images shipped across state and foreign borders by computer. That charge was dismissed after he was sentenced.
Schaff, tall and well spoken, stood before Biggers and said he was very remorseful for his behavior.
“I left my moral compass behind,” he said. “I thought I wasn’t hurting anybody. I am so sorry for the pain I’ve caused.”
Where he will serve his prison time will be determined by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He remains free on bond until he reports Nov. 1.
On Sept. 16, Schaff’s attorneys Frank Russell and Rob Laher of Tupelo asked the court for a lesser sentence than federal guidelines called for, saying their client admitted himself to inpatient rehabilitation and hoped to resume it as soon as possible.
Prosecutor Scott Leery urged the judge not to be lenient, saying he should show society “this conduct will not be tolerated.”
In court Monday, Biggers and Schaff talked back and forth as Schaff stood before him awaiting his sentence.
Biggers said he looked at the images Schaff downloaded onto his computer. “They were sickening,” the judge said.
Schaff went into some detail about how he “went to a very dark place” of sexual images and alcohol as he battled a crumbling mental state.
The judge said that people who download child pornography “are encouraging people to victimize children and make money.”
Schaff told him that he had hoped a move back to Mississippi would somehow leave his addictions behind.
Biggers said various factors about Schaff, including his lack of criminal history, his education and his family support, led him to the lesser sentence.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com