Former Penn prof denied lesser sentence in child porn case

Former Wharton professor Scott Ward, who was sentenced to 25 years in 2009, was denied a reduced sentence

· February 12, 2012, 9:22 pm   ·  Updated February 13, 2012, 11:41 pm

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Scott Ward, the former Wharton professor of Marketing currently serving time for transporting child pornography, had his request for a reduced sentence denied late last month.

Ward was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to four counts of child pornography and one count of lying to the U.S. Department of State. The court also mandated that Ward pay a $100,000 fine.

When a resentencing was ordered for procedural reasons, Ward, 69, requested that the term be reduced from 25 years to 15 years, citing — among other factors — his old age.

On Jan. 25, Judge Petrese Tucker kept the length of Ward’s sentence intact, increased the fine to $250,000 and prohibited him from having contact with minors.

“We presented several reasons for a shorter sentence,” Ward’s attorney, Peter Goldberger, said. The lighter sentence “would have given [Ward] a chance to get out of prison before he died of old age.”

Ward will be 91 years old when he is released.

Ward believed “the court should consider all of his conduct,” leading to a lighter sentence, Assistant US Attorney Bea Witzleben said. But the government believed, “in light of his conduct, he should get more time.”

Prosecutors pointed to the fact that Ward had remained in correspondence with his victims — young Brazilian men who are now in their twenties — while he was imprisoned. They also believed that Ward was looking to prey on the children of his victims, whom — according to the correspondences — he considered his grandchildren.

“He was in contact with their children,” Witzleben said, which “showed that he was unpenitent.”

Although Ward’s request was denied, Tucker had “agreed that a more severe sentence was not warranted,” Goldberger said.

The defense is “considering whether he has the basis for appeal,” he added.

Ward was arrested in August 2006 at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after a luggage search found a laptop, DVDs and a camcorder with videos of children — who appeared to be between the ages of 8 and 16 — engaging in sexual acts, some of them with Ward.

Penn President Amy Gutmann announced Ward’s departure from the University soon after. Later that year, investigators also found child pornography in Ward’s office in Huntsman Hall.

Ward was also accused of sexual misconduct involving minors in the 1990s, for allegedly paying a teenage boy for sex on dozens of occasions and for allegedly soliciting sex from a state trooper, who pretended to be 15 years old.

The subhead of this article has been updated to reflect that Ward did not plead guilty in 2009 — he was sentenced in 2009.

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