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LOCKPORT – Che A. Villar, whose obscene phone call to the customer service line of a children’s clothing manufacturer led to his arrest on child pornography charges, was sentenced Tuesday to 16 1/3 to 19 years in prison.

Villar, 37, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls, was sentenced after Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas directed that a friend of Villar’s be taken into a conference room to hear a recording of Villar’s call to the toll-free line at Oshkosh b’Gosh in January.

The friend had written a letter to Farkas, insisting that Villar was innocent.

Brandishing a compact disc, the judge said, “This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard. For the friend who thinks he’s not guilty, I want him to hear this.”

Asked after court how the playback session went, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said the unidentified man couldn’t stand to hear the whole call. “He said he’d heard enough,” Donatello said.

Police in Plano, Tex., where the Oshkosh b’Gosh call center is located, relayed the information to Niagara Falls police, whose probe resulted in a search warrant that disclosed hundreds of pornographic images of children on Villar’s computer.

Farkas, reading from a letter Villar sent her, said that he asked for the death penalty – “the death you’ve always sought,” the judge said. “Only by doing something so horrible could you get your case before the court.”

The judge informed Villar that New York no longer has the death penalty, and possessing child pornography wasn’t a capital crime when that penalty was on the books.

“That phone call was the tip of the iceberg, and Mr. Villar, you are the iceberg. You are a tortured soul,” Farkas said.

Villar said, “I am not the monster they’re making me out to be.” He said he’s cared for other people’s children for 20 years without incident.

“Every picture you’ve ever viewed of a child bound, gagged, or being raped or sodomized, you harmed that child,” Farkas said. “Once you make that connection, you become the monster that you so vehemently espouse not being.”

Donatello and Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said they had no inkling that Villar had cared for children. They asked any parents with concerns about Villar’s contact with their kids to call the District Attorney’s Office at 439-7085.

Villar was already on the sex offender registry as a Level 1 offender for a 2008 misdemeanor child porn conviction, Sloma said.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com