By ROBERT E. KESSLER
A former senior state parole officer, in charge of parole officers who supervised released sex offenders, admitted in federal court in Central Islip Friday to possession of child pornography, according to officials.
James Leone, 50, of Bethpage, apologized for his actions in pleading guilty to a charge of accessing a computer with the intention to view child pornography.
Leone, who resigned as a senior state parole officer as of Jan. 1, was arrested at his home in September by federal agents investigating people involved in the sharing of child pornography on the Internet, according to court papers.
Leone told agents that he had been searching the Internet for "preteen hard-core" pornography for about a year, but would delete anything he viewed because he did not want his wife or child to view it, the court papers said.
At his arraignment in September, Magistrate Kathleen Tomlinson barred Leone from working as a parole officer pending the resolution of the charges, and the New York State inspector general confiscated his gun.
Following his plea, Tomlinson released Leone on $500,000 bond and home detention.
Leone faces a sentence of up to 10 years.
Before joining the division of parole, Leone was a probation officer in New York City and a child abuse investigator for the city's child welfare bureau, court papers said.
After the plea, Leone's attorney, Joseph Conway, said his client has been successfully undergoing counseling.
Eastern District federal prosecutor Allen Bode declined to comment.