Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Woman guilty of downloading child porn

by The Indiana Gazette on August 20, 2014 10:54 AM

A Clymer woman faces a maximum of nine years in prison and could face sanctions under Megan’s Law after being convicted of charges related to child pornography Tuesday in Indiana County Court.

A jury of six men and six women returned a guilty verdict against Meri Jane Woods, 43, of Route 580, after about 1ᄑ hours of deliberations.

Police and prosecutors said Woods had tried to frame her husband, Matthew Woods, about one year ago when she told investigators that he had downloaded images of child pornography to the computer in their home.

Using technological investigative techniques, police computer experts almost immediately ruled out Matthew Woods’ involvement by finding the images date-stamped between Aug. 11 and 14, 2013.

Matthew Woods had been forced from the home before that time by a protection-from-abuse order, prosecutors told the jury.

Meri Woods found the porn on her own, District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said.

“She download in excess of 40 images of different acts of child pornography to the family computer, took it to the state police and said, ‘My husband downloaded all this porn,’” Dougherty said.

Dougherty had only one witness, Cpl. John Roche, a state police forensic investigator based in Indiana, who testified about what happened.

Defense attorney Matthew Budash had a rebuttal witness, professor Mary Volonino, of Canisius College, Buffalo, testify that the time stamps determined by Roche were unreliable.

The jury convicted Meri Woods of a felony count of sexual abuse of children/possession of child pornography and a misdemeanor count of unsworn falsification to law enforcement.

Dougherty said that charge is punishable by up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine, while the felony conviction could bring up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Judge Thomas Bianco scheduled sentencing for Dec. 15 to allow time for an evaluation of Woods by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which could recommend mandatory registration with the state police for up to 15 years, Dougherty said.

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