add_event_1.jpg


events_sidebar_calendar_header.gif

Photos_with_Santa_teaser.jpg

what_hap_signup_300x45.jpg

community_header.jpg
BG14_sidebar_96x96.jpgBOA14_sidebar_96x96.jpgVG14_sidebar_96x96.jpgobits_96x96.jpgAM14_sidebar_96x96.jpgannounce_96x96.jpg
soa13_300x45.jpg

MoralHazard_eyetear_teasebanner.jpg
shuffler_teaser_300x60.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Home / Articles / News / Local NEWS /  Marietta professor convicted on slew of child porn charges
. . . . . . .
Monday, August 26,2002

Marietta professor convicted on slew of child porn charges

By Athens NEWS Staff
MARIETTA -- The largest child pornography trial in Ohio history in terms of pornographic images has resulted in the conviction of a former Marietta College professor on 108 of 133 indictments.

MARIETTA -- The largest child pornography trial in Ohio history in terms of pornographic images has resulted in the conviction of a former Marietta College professor on 108 of 133 indictments.

In Washington County Common Pleas Court on Friday, a seven-man, five-woman jury returned a guilty verdict Friday on 108 charges against Eugene Robert Anderson, 52, the former information technology director at Marietta College.

All along, the case has been followed closely in Athens because a co-defendant of Anderson, the late Robert Sandford, worked as a computer engineer for Ohio University and allegedly committed related crimes from a computer on the Athens campus. Sandford died mysteriously last March of toxic poisoning from a chemical used to enhance the growth of plants. That case is still under investigation in Washington County.

Anderson resigned his Marietta College position early in 2001, about a month after the Dec. 15, 2000 raid of his campus office and his home in Vienna, W.Va. He had been at the school since 1981.

Judge Susan Boyer set Anderson's sentencing for Oct. 24.

Had Anderson been convicted on all 138 original counts, he faced a maximum of 575 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1.1 million. Washington County Prosecutor Michael Spahr said he had not yet calculated the maximum sentence on the 108 conviction counts. Some of the counts carry a maximum one-year sentence and others four to 8 years, he said.

Anderson was convicted on:

* 36 counts of pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor;

* 20 counts of complicity in pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor;

* 14 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material;

* 28 counts of complicity in illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material;

* Five counts of promoting prostitution;

* Three counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor;

* One count of unauthorized use of computer or telecommunications property;

* One count of corrupting a minor.

Anderson was found not guilty on 25 counts, and five others were dismissed during the three-week trial.

Scott Longo of the Ohio Attorney General's Office served as lead prosecutor in the case. He said, to his knowledge, the Anderson trial was the largest ever in Ohio history with regard to the amount of pornographic materials involved and could conceivably be the largest ever in the nation.

Longo, who works closely with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification's Computer Crimes Unit, was invited to lead the prosecution of the case because of his knowledge of computers and his close working relationship with the BCI agents who would be testifying in the trial.

"My computer knowledge is somewhat limited," said Spahr. "I know how to turn one on, turn one off, and do a little word processing. Given that the defendant in the case was an expert in computer technology, it made perfect sense to accept the attorney general's offer to have Mr. Longo come down here and lead the prosecution team."

Still, it may have been Spahr's closing summation that swayed the jury.

He likened Anderson's crime to a robber who walks into the bank and says to the teller, "This isn't a bank robbery; it's a non-returnable loan."

He characterized as "bunk" Anderson's "blame it on the other guy" defense, adding that by the very nature of his position as director of information technologies at Marietta College, Anderson knew what was going on. During the trial, Anderson's attorney, George Cosenza, had attempted to lay the blame on Sandford, a former colleague and lover of Anderson's, according to Anderson's testimony.

"That was his job. He had to know," Spahr said about Anderson, noting that he had done been in his position at Marietta College for 20 years.

Throughout the three-week trial, defense attorney George Cosenza reiterated his opening argument -- that the images were placed on a secret server, computers, and CD discs by Sandford, a computer engineer at OU.

The images, although erased from the computers, CDs and server, were retrieved through the use of special software that makes a mirror image of the original computer, including all deleted images.

Sandford had worked for Anderson at Marietta College prior to taking a similar position at OU in 1999. That same year, Sandford installed a secret server, known as "Caleb," on the Marietta College campus, to which only he and Anderson had access.

Several months before his death in March, Sandford told OU officials that someone had attempted to poison him with a tainted batch of cookies left in his vehicle.

PRELIMINARY TOXICOLOGY REPORTS on Sandford's death found the presence of the plant fertilizer as well as rat poison, which was reported to have been in the batch of cookies. Washington County authorities have yet to release their final report on Sandford's death.

Sandford's parents, who declined comment, sat in the back of the court throughout the three-week trial.

Spahr praised the jury's diligence and attention to detail. He said he was concerned the jury wouild get confused by the technical aspects of the trial, but noted that they showed great attention to detail throughout the three-week trial.

The jury, which began deliberations at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, was out for 9 1/2 hours before returning their verdict. It took nearly 45 minutes for bailiff Renee Marshall to read the verdict to the court.

"This person had been preying on young people for decades," Spahr told the media in a post-verdict press conference. "He's been living in chat rooms, looking for young boys. He talked to them about things of a sexual nature that you can't even talk about on television or the radio. It was pretty digusting."

Nearly 60 pornographic images were entered into evidence in the case, all of which depicted young boys in various sexual acts. In addition, several short pornographic movies were entered into evidence, all of which involved young boys engaged in sex acts.

The state also retrieved some 8,000 chats in gay chat rooms where Anderson found some of his boys, and more than 150,000 pornographic images on a secret server on the Marietta College campus that was designed to pull such images off the Internet by the use of what computer experts called a "robotic arm." The robot was programmed to exclusively pull out pornographic images, primarily those dealing with children.

The court went through nearly 150 prospective jurors in the case, many of whom said they could not stomach seeing such pornographic images, before seating the jury.

JURORS DECLINED COMMENT after their verdict was released, as did the defendant. And Cosenza left the court immediately after the verdict and did not return media calls left at his Parkersburg office.

Anderson faces similar charges in West Virginia in October. The Wood County Circuit Court returned an 86-count indictment against Anderson earlier this summer. Wood County Prosecutor Ginny Conley said the charges involve "use, possession and distr

 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 

 
 
Close
Close
Close