- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A former deputy director for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was sentenced Wednesday to three years’ probation for having an image of a teenage girl involved in sexually explicit conduct.

Kyle Smith also must register as a sex offender for 25 years and continue in a treatment program under the sentence handed down in Shawnee County District Court. Smith, 58, pleaded guilty in March to one count of sexual exploitation of a child.

As he left the courtroom Wednesday, Smith said dealing with his case has been “pretty emotional.” He declined to comment further. He could have received up to 10 years in prison.

An email containing an image of a teenage girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct was traced to Smith’s KBI account after an agency secretary discovered the image last fall and notified her superiors. Prosecutors dropped two charges accusing Smith of trying to destroy evidence on a phone and computer in March in exchange for the guilty plea.

Judge Cheryl Kingfisher said Smith was “honest” in expressing his guilt and desire to continue in a treatment program. She initially sentenced Smith to 32 months in prison, but suspended that in lieu of probation, citing his lack of a criminal record and low risk to reoffend based on a presentencing report.

“I do believe it would be more effective in preventing recidivism in your case than a prison term,” Kingfisher said. She noted that Smith had a long career in law enforcement and hoped that he had “the opportunity to do something positive in the time you have left.”

Smith had been a visible KBI figure for decades, frequently representing the agency on high-profile matters and working with legislators on crime measures and funding for a new KBI lab in Topeka. He was named deputy director of the agency in September 2011.