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Saturday, August 30, 2008

ex-radio host gets 7 years for child porn

A former San Francisco radio talk show host and former Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Thursday for distributing child pornography.

Bernie Ward, 57, pleaded guilty in May to one count of distributing child pornography. Prosecutors said investigators found dozens of pornographic images of children as young as 3 on Ward's home computer, including masochistic images of children bound and gagged.

"He traded in the currency of children's suffering," federal prosecutor Steve Grocki said.

Ward, a father of four known for his staunchly liberal views, hosted a nightly radio show until the station fired him when the child pornography indictment was made public in December.

A Stanislaus County woman who exchanged sexually explicit Internet messages with him called police after Ward sent her a photograph of two children engaged in a sex act.

She also provided police with transcripts of a conversation where Ward said he was aroused when his daughter walked in the bathroom while he showered, according to court documents.

"I find it extremely troubling that a parent would say the things he wrote in those messages," U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker said before sentencing him to seven years and three months.

Ward's attorney, Doron Weinberg, had argued for five years, the mandatory minimum prison sentence. He cited numerous letters of support Ward received after pleading guilty and Ward's volunteer work.

Weinberg has said Ward downloaded the child porn for journalistic research.

"It's clear that it ended in a dark place," Weinberg said. "Bernie Ward is a good man."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Brangelina Eligible For Child Support

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are probably the last couple on the planet who needs monetary support to raise their children. But leave it to France to offer it as an option!

Because the Jolie-Pitts are now residents of Brignoles, they are now eligible to receive child support in the amount of $2600 a month. That means they would receive money for a nanny and be compensated for their children who were adopted.

A spokesperson for Brignoles Council says, "We do not discuss individual benefits cases. But can confirm that all resident local families with young children are eligible for certain benefits."

Let's hope they don't accept the offer! And if they do, they'd probably put it right into charity anyway!

Stimulus checks boost child support collections

Davidson County has joined the rest of the state in witnessing a jump in child support collections primarily because of payments from stimulus packages intended to boost the nation's economy, according to the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

During July, $5.1 million was collected in child support, up 11 percent from the same period last year in Nashville.

Judicial districts statewide collected a record-setting $530 million in child support for the last fiscal year, up from $508 million the previous fiscal year.

Of the state's collections, nearly $24 million came from economic stimulus payments, according to DHS.

Stimulus payments are diverted to child support if a parent is at least $500 behind on child support.

"It's been a really wonderful benefit to children and families of the state relying on child support," said Michelle Mowery Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services.

An intercept program allows DHS to divert economic stimulus payments, lottery winnings and tax refunds toward child support.

"This is helping to pay for the daily necessities the rent, the groceries, the mortgage, the new school shoes," Johnson said.

The stimulus payments provide short-term relief, and DHS officials said they expect the numbers to drop next month.

Davidson County performs better than many others in the state but is being included in a cluster that is targeted for performance improvement.

The county was one of four in the state that showed a slight dip in collection payments in the last fiscal year.

"I think last year was harder than most as far as the economy and the things that affect the collections for child support," said Charles Bryson, director of field operations for child support at DHS.

Easton man tries to pay support with pennies

Grant Trump says he understands why he has to pay child support but he didn't like the smug attitude he received from the support office in Caroline County.

The Easton man was turned away last week when he tried to pay his balance with more than $1,000 in rolled pennies after he was found by a judge to be in arrears.

He tells The Star-Democrat, "I was determined if I was brought to court for something bogus then I'm going to be bogus about it." When his coins were refused, he says officials told him they would get his money one way or the other.

Trump says a supervisor called him Friday and apologized for not accepting the payment. He plans to make arrangements this week to return with his pennies.

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