Former Talk Show Host Bernie Ward to Be Sentenced in Child Porn Case

The Californian

August 25, 2008

Former radio talk show host Bernie Ward is due to be sentenced in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday for sending child pornography over the Internet.

Ward, 57, a former host on KGO Radio in San Francisco, will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. He admitted to one count of e-mail distribution of child pornography at a hearing before Walker in May.

The federal charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

But prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice have asked for a sentence of nine years.

They told the judge in a filing last week that the nine-year sentence is needed to reflect the seriousness of the crime and the victimization of the children who were depicted. Ward e-mailed the images to at least 10 other people, according to the prosecutors.

The Justice Department lawyers wrote that Ward's conduct was "amoral" and "universally unacceptable."

Ward's attorney, Doron Weinberg, asked in a filing last week for the minimum five-year sentence. The attorney wrote that Ward admits to the seriousness of the offense, but contended that five years is sufficient punishment.

The defense attorney said Ward's involvement in child pornography began as research for a book but "lost its focus, at least in part because of the influence of alcohol." The offense has had a "devastating" effect on Ward's family and his career, the attorney said.

The filing asks that Ward be allowed to serve part of his sentence in a prison alcohol abuse recovery program.

Ward, a former priest, is the father of four children.

The pornography came to light when a woman in Stanislaus County who had been exchanging sexual messages with Ward alerted police that Ward had sent her an image of child pornography in December 2004.


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