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Ex-Penn prof gets 25 years for child porn, lies

By Maryclaire Dale, AP
Originally published by News, September 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — A longtime Ivy League professor preyed on vulnerable teenage boys at home and abroad as he pursued them for sexual encounters and pornographic videos, prosecutors argued at his sentencing Tuesday.

Lawrence Scott Ward, 66, was sentenced to 25 years for manufacturing child pornography and lying to authorities to get one of his young victims into the U.S. He also must pay $100,000 restitution and remain on probation for life.

The former University of Pennsylvania professor already is serving a 15-year sentence for importing the illegal images when he returned from a 2006 trip to Brazil. Defense lawyers called the additional charges excessive.

According to prosecutors, Ward let one teenage victim live at his vacation home in Fortaleza, Brazil, paid for the boy's education and supported his family.

"I want you to know that you and your mom can keep having a good life as long as you keep giving me good things," Ward wrote the 16-year-old victim in a May 2006 e-mail. "(S)how me lots of love and respect especially in bed."

Ward was a marketing professor at Penn's Wharton School of Business when he was arrested returning to the U.S. from Brazil in August 2006. Authorities later found more child pornography in a search of his campus office.

In court papers, prosecutors allege that Ward also has molested boys in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and the Phillipines.

"The defendant has been preying on disadvantaged boys for decades. (He) has spent the last 30 years using his extensive financial resources and his position as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania to induce minors to succumb to his depraved desires," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea Witzleben wrote.

The airport stop marked Ward's third arrest on child-sex charges.

He was acquitted of sexual-assault charges in Montgomery County in 1995 after a videotape appeared to show the victim extorting him. He received probation after pleading to two misdemeanor charges in 1999, stemming from his alleged solicitation of an undercover trooper.

Defense lawyers pointed out that Ward will be 78 when he finishes serving the 15-year term. Additional time is unnecessary, they argued.

"When is enough, enough?" lawyer Mark Sheppard asked in a defense memo.

Ward told probation officials that he was sexually abused in his youth by an assistant pastor of his Pittsburgh-area church.

A 2002 lawsuit filed in Suffolk County, Mass., alleged that Ward had sexually abused two juvenile offenders in the late 1970s, when he served as a counselor for a nonprofit group, prosecutors said. The suit also accused a Catholic priest assigned to the organization of sexual abuse.

A defense psychologist who evaluated Ward said he is sexually attracted to teens, a condition termed ephebophilia. His lawyer said he is amenable to treatment after three years in prison and has been sufficiently punished.

"His fall from internationally renowned academic to internationally reviled sex offender has been well documented in the press and academic circles," Sheppard wrote.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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