Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Clymer-area woman sentenced in child porn case

by By The Indiana Gazette on December 15, 2014 1:55 PM

A Clymer-area woman was sent to Indiana County Jail on Monday to begin a jail term for her conviction for possession of child pornography.

Meri Woods, 43, was ordered by Judge Thomas Bianco to serve six months to two years less one day for the felony conviction. Woods also was directed to serve two years of probation for a companion charge of unsworn falsification to law enforcement.

State police said Woods reported to authorities that she found the porn images on her home computer in August 2013 and told investigators that her estranged husband had downloaded them. But police computer crime experts determined that the date stamps on the image files showed they had been downloaded to Woods’ home computer at a time after her husband moved out of the house under terms of a protection-from-abuse order.

A jury found Woods guilty of the charges Aug. 19.

At a sentencing hearing, Woods reasserted her innocence.

“This is because I was doing something good that turned out bad against me,” Woods told Bianco. “I only wanted to protect my children.”

Woods’ defense attorney, Thomas Dickey, of Altoona, asked Bianco to exercise lenience and to sentence Woods to a term of probation. He also asked Bianco to delay the sentence until after the holidays.

Assistant District Attorney Sara Ross said Woods’ husband declined a chance to speak in court and instead submitted a written statement about how the incident affected him. Ross asked Bianco to reject the call for lenience because Woods has shown no remorse for the crime.

Bianco said a sentence in the standard range for the conviction was appropriate, and denied Dickey’s request to not immediately impose the sentence.

“You were found guilty Aug. 19, you’ve had almost four months to prepare for this,” Bianco said.

Bianco said the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined Woods is not a sexually violent predator, but she would be required because of the pornography-possession conviction to register her address, workplaces and schools she attends for 15 years following her release from jail.

Woods also was fined $500 and ordered to pay court costs of $366.

 

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