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Convict Who Sought to Save Military Pension Appeals Sentence

Gavel at rest

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A Wyoming man who sought unsuccessfully to save his military pension after being convicted of sex crimes against a child is appealing his 15-year prison sentence.

A federal jury in October convicted Army National Guard Lt. Timothy Wells of sexual exploitation of a child and other charges. Prosecutors say the crimes occurred at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

In January, U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne denied Wells' request to release him from custody temporarily and reschedule his sentencing for April so he could finish the 20 years of military service necessary to qualify for a pension.

Johnson sentenced Wells in January to 15 years in prison.

Wells, who's currently in federal prison in Oklahoma, according to a federal Bureau of Prisons database, filed an appeal recently with a federal appeals court in Denver. He's asking the court to review whether Johnson made errors during his trial and whether the prison sentence Johnson imposed is reasonable.

Assistant Federal Public Defender James Barrett told Johnson at the January sentencing that Wells essentially was receiving a life sentence and would have to register as a sex offender after his release from prison.

"His career is gone; his pension is gone," Barrett said. "His future, for all intents and purposes, isn't gone, but it is tremendously diminished."

Lawyer Wendy Curtis Palen of Glendo represents Wells on appeal. She declined comment on Thursday.

Thomas Szott, with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne, prosecuted Wells and has filed to represent the government in fighting his appeal. John R. Powell, spokesman for the office, also declined comment.

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Army Crime