Attorneys spar over warrant

0

PARIS – A judge will consider whether there was probable cause for police to search the residence of a former SAD 72 substitute teacher accused of possessing child pornography.

Gilbert E. Telford, 69, of 52 Tracy Lane in Center Lovell, was indicted in February of a charge of possession of sexually explicit material of a minor under the age of 12. Following his arrest, police seized five computers from his home, as well as child pornography magazines and videos.

Attorney Walter McKee, who represents Telford, said the search was not done with probable cause. He said a housekeeper became concerned about material in a spiral notebook near one of Telford’s computers and contacted police.

“No search was permissible,” said McKee.

McKee has filed motions to suppress as evidence materials found during the search. According to Sgt. Matt Baker of the Sheriff’s Office, the materials seized by the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force included tens of thousands of pornographic images and more than 300 digital movie files.

Assistant district attorney Joe O’Connor said some materials in the home would have been enough to create suspicions, including DVDs with sexually explicit titles and a DVD case near the computer with seven- to nine-year-old boys on it.

O’Connor said the notebook contained profiles of young boys and the addresses of Web sites featuring boys aged five to six. He said the housekeeper also noted that Telford asked her if she knew any boys who could work around the house.

“The requirement is whether a common sense viewer would conclude that there is a probable cause,” said O’Connor of the search.

McKee argued that the housekeeper was reading too much into the comment, and suggested that Telford simply needed the help. He also said there was no indication in the warrant as to whether the preteen Web sites were inappropriate.

The matter is being reviewed by Justice Joyce A. Wheeler.

Telford is charged with a Class C felony. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.

Advertisement
SHARE