Saturday, June 29, 2013

CA - 'Hardcore' child porn found on ex-Peninsula probation official's (Stuart Forrest) computers, feds say

Probation officer Stuart Forrest
Stuart Forrest
Original Article

06/29/2013

By Joshua Melvin

Police found seven "hardcore" pictures of young boys having sex among 400 suspected images of child pornography -- and a desktop computer missing its hard drive -- when they searched the top San Mateo County probation officer's home and office in December, a federal report says.

Investigators say they found some of the images on a work laptop computer Stuart Forrest was carrying out of his San Mateo home on Dec. 20, hours after he was first interviewed at his office by San Jose police detectives and just before the search, according to a U.S. Postal Inspection Service report obtained by this newspaper.

The report provides the first detailed account of the secretive federal investigation, which resulted in state prosecutors charging Forrest with two felony counts of child pornography possession in February. He retired after 35 years working for the county, 11 days after the search. He is out on bail ahead of his July 15 trial date in San Mateo County Superior Court and has vowed to fight the charges.

According to the report, when the evidence was presented to Assistant U.S. Attorney Owen P. Martikan on Jan. 7, he declined to pursue a case against Forest because "it was under their current prosecution guidelines."

The state Attorney General's office, which is prosecuting Forrest, has declined to make any comment since filing the charges. Under the charges Forrest faces a maximum of three years eight months behind bars if convicted.

Forrest's attorney Jaime Leanos said the relatively few charges and the lack of interest by federal prosecutors puts the case in proper perspective. Prosecutors can file a criminal charge for each child porn image.

"Given the number of inappropriate images they consider 'child pornography,' it's very telling that there are only two charges," said Leanos. "And given his position in law enforcement he has a legitimate reason to possess them as part of his job."

Leanos said his client had the images, found on a work laptop and a thumb drive at his office, as part of an effort to teach probation officers to identify child porn. Law enforcement agents are protected from prosecution if they have child porn as part for training or an investigation.


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2 comments :

NJ45143112 said...

Are you kidding me?!
At first I thought to rail against the system for wasting everybody's time by prosecuting somebody for only 7 images and 4 hundred "suspected" images...
But that's not as bad as knowing that federal officials could actually use their position as a defense for possessing these images. I've often wondered about the forensic guys that go through these computers and drag out these images. Do they have collections of their own that they are able to keep because of their jobs?
With the country's greatest day coming with the spirit of commemorating the sacrifices of so many men and women in our nature's history that believed in freedom and the future of the U.S., it is disgusting to note that freedoms can so easily be taken away with the sweep of a political pen! Worse, those freedoms can be maintained for a certain few simply because of political position or standing...
And, after all is said and done, what will be the good in it all?
"Oh, well another child molesting monster will be off the streets!" some might say. They would be dead wrong, of course...
Deep down, I still love this country and would love to be able to experience it the way it was intended. With freedom and justice for all. But that right has been removed from me because those that are more "free" than the rest of us decided that I need to be crushed under the wheel for the good of all...
My apologies to those that have even harder lives than I do. I do not make light of your circumstances but only bring to light the surface of the problem we face and acknowledge your pain...
In any case, I find it hard to honor or celebrate this coming weekend because the U.S. is currently like a glass of water that somebody peed in...
I hope everybody else is able to enjoy, however...

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