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Associated Press Writer

By BLAKE NICHOLBy BLAKE NICHOLSON

A former Dickinson businessman has been sentenced to five years in prison for possessing child pornography, and ordered to pay restitution to the one known victim and to a hospital children's center here.

The "extraordinary" restitution of $20,000 to the Dakota Children's Advocacy Center at Medcenter One is a first for North Dakota, Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter said.

David Fisher, 44, the former head of Fisher Industries and Fisher Martin Inc., admitted in April to possessing two video clips and about two dozen computer files of child pornography in March 2003. In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges of sexual exploitation of minors and receipt of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Fisher's attorneys - Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, N.M., where Fisher had most recently lived, and Tom Dickson, of Bismarck - said Fisher accepts responsibility for his actions and apologizes.

"He wishes it had never happened," Dickson said after Fisher's sentencing Friday in U.S. District Court in Bismarck. "But it did, he's responsible and he's accepted that."

The five-year prison sentence was the maximum allowed by law at the time of Fisher's crime, Hochhalter said.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Dan Hovland also ordered Fisher to pay restitution of $4,860 to the one known victim, a 10-year-old girl whom Fisher had hired to help with office chores. Authorities said six of the child porn images in Fisher's possession were of the girl. Hochhalter said Fisher also will be responsible for paying future costs of counseling for the victim.

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Fisher also was fined $15,000 and ordered to forfeit another $5,000 to the government, "based on the defendant's ownership in property used to commit the crime," Hochhalter said.

He said the $20,000 Fisher was ordered to pay to the Dakota Children's Advocacy Center will be used to help victims of child sexual abuse.

"It's a wonderful thing … for this type of organization to benefit in this way," Hochhalter said.

Fisher will be on supervised release for three years following his prison term. He will be required to register as a sex offender and have counseling or treatment, to have no contact with pornography of any kind, submit to any searches required by probation officers and to have no access to computers except for work purposes.

Hochhalter said the family of the victim was satisfied with the sentence. "They were hoping that this could bring some closure," he said.

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