LOS ANGELES — A former Atascadero Girls Softball umpire has been found not guilty on four charges of knowingly receiving videos of child pornography, but has pleaded guilty to the fifth count, possessing child pornography.
Andrew Guy Pratt, 48, was found not guilty on the four receiving counts in a trial in Los Angeles on June 5. The court found that the government failed to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Pratt himself was the one to download the pornography on his computer.
But Pratt has agreed to plead guilty on the fifth count, possession, as the facts of the case have made his guilt of that charge clear, according to court paperwork.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 1, 2012 at 11 a.m. in the courtroom of Judge Stephen V. Wilson.
According to court paperwork, Pratt’s computer had four separate user accounts: one named “Andy,” which was a password-protected
administrator account, one account for his girlfriend at the time, one for one of his adult daughters, and one “guest” account. In addition to the password, the “Andy” account was set to go to screen saver after 10 minutes of activity, with a password required to exit the screen saver.
The computer contained the LimeWire file-sharing program, and the program had its settings changed to save downloaded files to a hidden folder that couldn’t be accessed from the other user accounts and wouldn’t be found unless one knew exactly where to go. Some of the files had their names changed to seemingly random strings of numbers from their original names, which indicated the nature of their contents.
The court said that the facts made it clear that someone used the computer on the “Andy” account, used LimeWire to search for and download child pornography, and viewed them. But the question is who did it.
The government asserted that there was enough circumstantial evidence that Pratt did it, given the name of the administrator account, the password protection and the hidden, renamed files. The government also said that there was no evidence that anyone living in the home knew the password.
But the court said that there wasn’t evidence that no one else knew the password, and that no one else used the computer within 10 minutes of Pratt stepping away, before the screen saver kicked in.
Pratt was arrested at 6:40 a.m. on Feb. 7 in Atascadero. He was arraigned on that day and pleaded not guilty to all five counts at that time.
But the change of plea on the possession count to guilty took place on July 2.
For the complete article see the 07-11-2012 issue.
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