clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

W.V. man pleads guilty to collecting porn

A former budget analyst for the Utah Legislature pleaded guilty Monday to collecting child pornography just days after a judge ruled the binders of photos found in his Capitol Hill office last spring were legally seized.

Jere M. Winslow, 59, West Valley City, pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to a reduced charge of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, a third-degree felony. He was originally charged with a second-degree felony.Judge Sandra Peuler denied a motion last week by Winslow's attorney, Kendall Farr, that binders seized from Winslow's office last April while he was on vacation, and more photos taken later at his home, be suppressed as evidence.

Farr argued that Winslow had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his workplace, even though it was a state office. The search of his office, first by suspicious fellow employees and later by his supervisors, was illegal, Farr argued.

And later actions by Winslow's supervisor, chief budget analyst Leo Memmott, in showing the material to state Senate leaders Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, and Lane Beattie, R-West Bountiful, further violated Winslow's privacy rights, Farr maintained.

He also argued the subsequent search of Winslow's home by an investigator from the attorney general's office was illegal.

But Peuler ruled Winslow kept the binders - labeled "budget requests" and "agency requests" - out on shelves and in bookcases in his office, not locked in drawers or in cabinets. And the initial search of his office was limited to those areas in the open and did not intrude into drawers or file cabinets.

Peuler noted Winslow took no action to conceal the binders, knowing that other employees had access to his office and could reasonably be expected to look at binders with those labels.

The judge ruled the search of Winslow's home was legal because he gave verbal permission for it and cooperated in turning over information and computer discs.

Lt. Matt Jacobson, the attorney general's office investigator, testified at an August preliminary hearing that between 3,000 and 4,000 photos were seized, many of them downloaded off the Internet.

He deemed some 10 to 15 percent of them to be pornographic. Some had been altered, enlarged or cropped, focusing on the genital area of the subjects, Jacobson testified. A pediatrician testified the children in the photos appeared to be under 18 years old.

Farr argued that Winslow was an avid photographer and often took portraits of children at the request of their parents and always with the parents or another adult present. He collected the photos to get ideas on posing, lighting and costumes, Farr suggested.

Winslow did not testify at his preliminary hearing but his wife, Susan, did, saying Winslow had undergone a personality change after being treated for depression.

After the criminal charge was filed in June, Winslow took early retirement from his state job. He faces a prison term of up to five years. Sentencing is set for Dec. 15.