The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 August 2008

KGO Libtalker Bernie Ward To Be Sentenced Today


Ward May Get Nine Years On Child Porn Conviction


We're just a short time away from learning the fate of former KGO/ San Francisco libtalker Bernie Ward, who faces a possible nine years in prison on child porn charges.

The story was first broken at this site in December 2007.

A little more than an hour ago, Ward arrived at the federal courthouse in San Francisco, wearing a suit and clutching a briefcase. According to KGO-7 TV (not affiliated with KGO radio), the "lion of the left" brought his wife and children to the hearing.

Just yesterday, KGO-7's Dan Noyes reported a fresh new twist to the case, a previously- undisclosed revelation that a close friend of Ward's aided the investigation against him. Michael Pritchard, said to be a child advocate, assisted law enforcement after Ward seemed to admit to some of the charges during a private conversation at the radio station, according to Noyes.

All along, Ward has maintained he was merely researching a book, rather than maintaining an interest in child porn, but Pritchard told Noyes that never came up in their conversations.

At this very moment, Noyes is liveblogging from the courtroom. See it here.

Should Ward be sentenced to the full nine years that some observers expect, it could put a damper on any potential plan by KGO / Citadel Communications management to rehire him.

While coverage to date has mostly been unsympathetic to Ward, a peculiar story that has run in many Bay Area newspapers this week appears to see him as a victim of cyber-entrapment:

Just a few mouse clicks into the forbidden world of Internet child porn can transform an apparently upstanding individual into a federal prison inmate - doing a long sentence.

That's the harsh reality former KGO radio host Bernie Ward will encounter this week. The popular and prominent liberal voice on Bay Area radio for decades is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in San Francisco federal court for distributing sexual images of young children. The best the 57-year-old Ward can hope for is five years in prison.

Setting aside his celebrity status, Ward's case is no aberration.

Ward is ensnared in what is becoming one of the U.S. Justice Department's fastest-growing areas of prosecution. Child-porn crimes have gone from a rarity on federal court dockets to a phenomenon, with prosecutions jumping nationally from a scant 30 in 1995 to more than 2,100 last year, according to a Mercury News analysis of Justice Department data maintained by Syracuse University.

In the Bay Area, dozens of federal cases are being filed every year and the U.S. Attorney's Office is on pace to file a record number of child-porn prosecutions in 2008. There were just two child-porn cases filed in the region's federal courts in 1995 - an era when child pornography just began to proliferate on the Web.

Aggressive law enforcement teams - nationally and in the Bay Area - are policing the Internet. Typically, they are catching successful people - engineers, businessmen, professors and lawyers - who are under the false impression that their habit is personal, harmless and anonymous.

But by downloading or sharing sexual images of pre-pubescent children, those who do so find out they are not sequestered by the privacy of their own computers and are shocked when they suddenly find themselves facing the law's wrath.

"Almost without exception, I find these defendants to be honestly amazed at the seriousness of their conduct as far as the system is concerned," said Alan Baum, a Studio City defense attorney who specializes in child-porn cases.

Captured often commit suicide

For some of those caught by the legal system, the consequences and public humiliation have been too much to bear. In the Bay Area alone, five defendants facing child-porn charges have committed suicide over the past two years. This year, on the eve of a court appearance on child-porn charges in the spring, one of the defendants, Los Gatos businessman George Halldin was found dead in his car inside a burning warehouse. Authorities ruled it a suicide.

Earlier this year, former KSFO morning host Melanie Morgan gave her account of experiences with Ward. See it here.

UPDATE: Morgan has an eyewitness account of today's courtroom action now posted at her site. Here's an excerpt:

Grimly, I listened as the Judge described the terms of his sentence. Country club jail at Lompoc. Supervised release for the rest of his life. Drug testing. Special assessments. Sex offender evaluation, sex offender registration. The special treatment that Ward recieved with a delay to report for jail until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

"I regret my actions, the harm to my family, my friends and this court. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I am sorry" said Ward to Judge Walker.

Sorry for what? That he got caught? That he got fired? That he is humiliated? I did not hear Bernie Ward apologize to the children in the pictures or their families for victimizing them by passing the pornography around, or especially to his own kids, whom he discussed in sexual terms with the woman who ultimately turned him into the FBI.

"No question we are dealing with a personal tragedy for the defendant, his family and the community. I have read many eloquent letters of support and Bernie Ward's work as a broadcaster was highly laudable", Walker said. "But Mr. Ward, you come from a strongly religious background. You were sexually abused as a child. It's difficult for me to understand why you didn't try to get help after experiencing abuse yourself, and seeing it in your own Catholic church."

Yes, that is the pertinent point. Instead, Bernie made up a pack of lies about how the Right Wing conspiracy and the evil George Bush were out to get him. He apparently still believes that, because that is very close to what his wife told reporters after the sentencing conclusion today.

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  • Bernie Got 7 years and 3 months in federal prison. I believe this is overkill on the sentencing. 2-3 years would have been more like it.
    No doubt he will have a hard time adjusting to life inside prison but how much punishment is it if he enjoys the forced sex? That sounds as sick as those of you out there who are "getting off" on his going to prison. Just hope when all is over and he survives you all will accept the debt if he pays it to society. Probably not. This from a party who thinks water boarding isn't torture. No sentence would be good enough for you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 August, 2008 17:14  

  • So this means that sometime after the convention, Bernie Ward will be voted "worst person in the world", right?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 August, 2008 20:29  

  • Deever
    Perhaps when your children or someone close to you is molested you might get the hell off your idiotic liberal high horse and realize just what a stupid fool you are.
    Pedophiles are the least likely offender group to rehab, recidivism rate is 98%
    couple that with Ward's incredible Paranoiac idea that HE was the victim, mix in the loony Left's need to mainstream deviant behavior and you will get a never ending opportunity for children to get damaged

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 August, 2008 06:59  

  • "I believe this is overkill on the sentencing. 2-3 years would have been more like it."

    deever, who the hell do you work for, NAMBLA, the ACLU?!

    Nine years is too light a sentence. LIFE IN JAIL W/O PAROLE would be more like it, with medical castration that way his sexual deviancy is declared DEAD!

    Once a child molester, ALWAYS a child molester.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 29 August, 2008 08:33  

  • I never said he wasn't deserving of any jail time. But they give actual rapist less time for actually committing rape. The sentence is overkill. 2-3 years would have been more like it. And what about the woman who turned him in? Sounds like she was as guilty as he was.Bernie Ward has hurt alot more than his family and himself. He has hurt the very people who agreed with him politically over the years. Having said that. That's One(count em) pervert from the left comepared to how many of you on the right who claim to be more moral? What a frickin' joke!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 August, 2008 08:47  

  • Doofus Dave,
    just HOW inane are you?
    2-3 years for destroying a child's life?
    is EVERYTHING to a liberal this easily devolved down to partisan politics????
    the "woman that turned him in",
    while being a deviant, did NOT solicit ILLEGAL behavior, Ward did THAT sir, is why he was arrested, whither he is an actual molester is irrelevant, he solicited a seriously illegal act and
    by dissimulation of child pornography, he was aiding and abetting current and future attacks on children.
    "Having said that. That's One(count em) pervert from the left comepared to how many of you on the right who claim to be more moral? What a frickin' joke!"

    lets see
    Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-IL convicted of sexual misconduct and rape of of several underage girls,
    Russ Feingold, D-Wis financially and personally gave aid and support to Leon Rouse – a convicted child molester serving time on underage sex charges in the Philippines,
    there is at least 2 examples, do you really want to play this tit for tat??
    you sir are a moral cripple and a partisan hack

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 August, 2008 18:57  

  • Thanks for the liberal perspective, Deever Dave: "What's the big deal, it's only kiddie pr0n?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 September, 2008 23:18  

  • Liberals defend Air America and pedophiles, because they live on hate for the first, and know that deep in their hearts they have the same perversions within them, for the second.

    That must be why Rhodes falsely smeared Palin as a pedophile today. She knows she herself actually is one. It makes sense, because Air America apparently hires them and tries to protect them when they get caught.

    Just like the liberals posting here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 September, 2008 17:18  

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