DOCUMENT: Sex, Crime

A Slave To "Research"

Explicit police reports detail child porn case against Bernie Ward

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A Slave To "Research"

FEBRUARY 15--When radio talk show host Bernie Ward was arrested last year on child pornography charges, his lawyers downplayed the federal rap, saying that his client was merely doing research for a book when he accessed and distributed illicit images.

But police reports indicate that Ward, a 56-year-old former Catholic priest, began a graphic online correspondence with a San Francisco-area dominatrix who used the name 'Sexfairy' and called cops when Ward sent her a lewd digital image featuring a topless woman, a nude boy, and a young girl.

According to the Oakdale Police Department reports, copies of which you'll find here, the woman, Linda Figueiredo, informed investigators that she never told Ward of a desire to 'see or hear about sexual activities among minors.' The documents note that in his 2004-05 instant message exchanges with the 33-year-old Figueiredo, Ward, using the alias 'Vincentlio,' made reference 'that he might be sexually abusing minors' or allowing them to 'engage in sexual acts in his presence.'

As first reported by San Francisco's ABC7, armed with the explicit IM exchanges and the image received by the woman, investigators obtained a search warrant for Ward's AOL account, which yielded other alleged photos of child pornography. Several of those images, an investigator noted, 'depicted children engaged in or simulating sexual acts with adults or other children.' The minors seen in the photos were between four and 17 years old, according to a police estimate.

The photographs resulted in Ward's indictment last year on three federal felony counts. Currently free on $250,000 bail, Ward was fired last December from his job at KGO Radio, where he built a reputation as an outspoken liberal voice and harsh critic of the Bush administration. (19 pages)