Eliot Cutler listens to the prosecution during a hearing at the Hancock County Unified Criminal Court in Ellsworth on Thursday May 4, 2023. Cutler pleaded guilty to four felony counts of possessing child pornography. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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When Eliot Cutler recently pleaded guilty to child pornography charges, he said, “I hope to devote the rest of my years to making amends as best I can…” One definition of “making amends” is “to compensate or make up for wrongdoing.”

Under Maine law, Cutler will serve nine months in jail and pay $5,000 to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. While this is a start, I think it hardly qualifies as “making amends.” Cutler appears to be a very wealthy man. He likely has the financial resources to contribute much more than $5,000 to help missing and exploited children, who are often the victims of sexual abuse.

If Cutler truly wants to make amends for his crimes and the harm they have caused to innocent children, he could contribute a significant part of his fortune to help young victims of sexual abuse. He could set up a fund, endowed with his own money, that could raise millions of dollars to help young victims of abuse and to help prevent the abuse. This is the defining moment of Eliot Cutler’s life. A lasting legacy of good could take root from this tragedy.

Steve Colburn