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August 28, 2008

Kiddie porn killed the radio star

200pxvideo_killed_the_radio_star_siThis local story about a high-profile federal child porn sentencing case made it impossible to avoid linking to the great first video ever shown on MTV.  Of course, the specifics of the sentencing are no joking matter for anyone involved:

Bernie Ward, one of the Bay Area's most prominent radio talk show hosts for 15 years, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison by a federal judge today for distributing child pornography on the Internet.

Ward, 57, pleaded guilty to the felony charge in May and admitted sending between 15 and 150 pornographic images by e-mail, which he maintained were for a research project.  Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco imposed a sentence of seven years and three months, rejecting a defense plea for the minimum five-year term required by federal law.  Prosecutors had sought a nine-year term....

Ward spent 24 years with KGO-AM in San Francisco, first as a reporter and later as the host of a talk show on news and politics that ran three hours every weeknight. A former Roman Catholic priest, he also hosted "God Talk," a Sunday morning program that discussed religious issues....

Ward was charged after a woman in Oakdale (Stanislaus County) contacted police in 2005 and said an ex-priest, later identified as Ward, had been having sex chats with her by e-mail and had sent her a photo showing child pornography. Police got a search warrant for the online account and found about 100 images showing minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, prosecutors said in court papers.

Ward's lawyer, Doron Weinberg, described the online conversations with the woman as role-playing. Ward has said he downloaded the images as part of his research for a proposed book on hypocrisy among Americans who preach morality. 

Prosecutors said they had evidence that Ward had shared graphic images of child sex with a group of 10 people for about a year. Ward's motive and intent were irrelevant to his guilt under federal law, which makes possessing, receiving or distributing child pornography a felony punishable by at least five years in prison.

August 28, 2008 at 05:14 PM | Permalink

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Ward's lawyer, Doron Weinberg, described the online conversations with the woman as role-playing. Ward has said he downloaded the images as part of his research for a proposed book on hypocrisy among Americans who preach morality.

I'm not sure what the word is for this... irony? chutzpah?

Posted by: | Aug 28, 2008 5:55:36 PM

Self delusion. It is a standard line used by people who download child porn. Many of them actually believe it. Most universities now counsel their professors not to download child porn even if they have some academic interest in it. In fact, it's quite a controversial topic for a certain fringe element in the ivy tower. Because so many layman claim they are doing research, and it has been laughed out of court, academics who are trying to do legitimate research on pedophilia are now law breakers. They have a point, unfortunately there is no safe-harbor in the law for research, mostly because it would be impossible to draw the line between what is legit research and what is not; in addition to other issues.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29, 2008 12:29:25 PM

Daniel,

Even though Volokh has de-blogrolled me (apparently for my criticism of him on 1st amendment issues), I seem to remember him saying that he had a “pornography permit” issued by the dean of one law school saying that he could surf for some research. Indeed, many law review students have gotten similar “permits.”

Whatever the case, I don’t know if anyone that was ever prosecuted for conducting research in a detailed manner that seemed legitimate and passed scrutiny with an IRB.

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 29, 2008 12:49:49 PM

Wasn't this Pete Townsend's excuse as well when his credit card number was being used at a dubious website?

He was doing "research" for "Tommy II: See Me, Feel Me, Touch You".

Worked for Pete. I think he just got a strong reprimand.

Posted by: dweedle | Aug 29, 2008 1:30:48 PM

S.cotus.

Hmmmm. Perhaps my data is old. If you have source I would be curious to see it. I am not a child porn "researcher" so I won't claim to have all the facts. But I recall reading a few articles in the academic press about this issue several years ago. Maybe the DOJ has changed things since then, though I am doubtful. I know for a fact that DOJ employees that work in keeping their database of child porn up to date must go to mandatory counseling every three months in order to keep them sane. So I'd imagine there has to be very specific limits on any type of permit the DOJ allowed, and the source of the pictures. Which means that the research wouldn't be original research and so would have limited utility. But I could be totally off base as this specific topic is not my area of interest. I certainly would be interested if someone has a specific link that provides more information, just so that I don't pass along incorrect data.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 29, 2008 4:34:54 PM

Interesting! I’ll have to see what I have for you. I’ll be back with a comment or two hopefully...

Posted by: Jimmy@Free-Porn-Movies | Oct 25, 2008 12:41:56 AM

Well I find myself at the 5th entry in my series of websites that are amazing yet do not have the web 2.0 aesthetic. I like many other designers have fallen to the addictive properties of http://cm.loading-dvd.com/blog/rape-fantasy-porntube/ which has allowed me to find such an amazing set of sites and share them here with you.

Posted by: Rape fantasy porntube | Feb 20, 2009 6:59:37 AM

Any person on earth will do or say anything to avoid spending time in prison even if they're guilty. The problem is most people want others to be held accountable for their behavior, but they don't want to be held accountable for their own behavior. Strange.

Posted by: Carlo | Feb 20, 2009 8:13:45 PM

ewwwww...people are so gross...

Posted by: Jeremyrg | Mar 19, 2009 11:37:39 PM

15 years is all he got. Oh well. His tail is as good as gone. I hear inmates don't take too kindly to child molesters/pornographers. Revenge is so sweet!

Posted by: Rabbit Vibrator | Aug 19, 2009 12:29:43 PM

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