To hear the prosecutor talk, Jason M. Smith is as bad as a felon gets.
Seven underage girls. Seven victims of sexual exploitation. One of them only 8 years old at the time she was raped.
Smith, a 37-year old Town of Tonawanda man, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in federal prison.
"It does not get any worse than this," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen. "The young female children of Western New York are not safe when Jason Smith is on the street."
Smith's sentence followed his guilty plea last year to two counts of producing child pornography and his admissions that he videotaped two underage girls while sexually assaulting them.
One of the girls, who was between 8 and 10 at the time, was the daughter of one of Smith's friends and was repeatedly assaulted over a two-year period.
"He brought her to his residence, dressed her up in pink and black lingerie and sexually assaulted her while taking photographs of her victimization," Allen said Wednesday.
The other girl, who was 13 at the time, was also photographed while being raped.
U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny pointed to the large number of victims – a total of seven underage girls – and Smith's lack of remorse in issuing the sentence.
Skretny, who could have given Smith as much as 60 years in prison, acknowledged the long prison term may be a "death sentence," but suggested it is warranted given his history as a sexual predator.
Allen, in asking for the maximum, noted that Smith often used social media, including online meeting sites such as meetme.com, to recruit his victims. He said Smith also posed as younger boys and always used a false identity.
At one point Wednesday, Smith turned to the courtroom gallery and apologized to his victims and their families.
"I've cried many times for hours on end," he told Skretny. "It may be hard for you to believe, but I never meant any harm."
At that point, one of the family members walked out of the courtroom.
Allen, who suggested more than once that, if released, Smith might assault another girl, credited the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and police in Cheektowaga and Lancaster with getting him off the streets.
Smith, who has been in custody since his arrest two years ago, may also face civil confinement if and when he is released from prison.