With Scott Ward still facing federal child-pornography charges in Pennsylvania, legal experts say the former Wharton professor doesn't have much of a case and will likely plead guilty once again.
Ward faces charges stemming from the discovery of alleged child pornography in his Huntsman Hall office in September. He has already pled guilty to charges of producing child pornography for importation into the U.S. in a Virginia case. He will be sentenced May 11 and will serve 15-30 years in prison.
Philadelphia criminal attorney William Spade - who is unaffiliated with this case - said that, with CDs and DVDs confiscated from Ward's University office allegedly depicting him in sexual activity with a minor boy, the prosecution's evidence against Ward is overwhelming.
"I don't see much of a defense there," Spade said. The case seems like a "set, point and match" for the prosecution, he added.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy, who is heading the prosecution in Pennsylvania, likewise said that he has "no idea what the defense would be."
As a result, says Florida-state and federal criminal defense attorney Bruce Lehr, a deal between Ward and the prosecution is extremely likely.
"Whenever you have two jurisdictions, if you can arrange for a concurrent time, that'd make sense," Lehr said.
"It would shock to me" for the government to hold a federal trial in Pennsylvania after the guilty plea in Virginia has already been entered, he added.
A warrant for Ward's arrest is being sent to the detention center in Virginia where Ward is being held, Levy said, and he will likely face trial in a Pennsylvania federal court in late May or early June.
Levy said earlier this week that the prosecution would not consolidate the charges in Pennsylvania with the guilty plea in Virginia, as was widely expected.
It's a move on the part of the prosecution, Spade said, to ensure that Ward, 67, stays in prison for the remainder of his life.
"They probably think [the crime] was heinous enough that they should not give Mr. Ward a break on it" by allowing Ward the possibility of concurrent sentences, Spade said. "They probably feel that he's a danger to society and he should be kept locked up for the rest of his life."
Levy said that Ward has not hired a lawyer yet for his case in Pennsylvania.
Ward's lawyers in Virginia did not return requests for comment.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.