U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker piercing blue eyes peered at Bernie Ward from the bench, saying he was 'troubled by the message content of pornographic images' that he had viewed from the privacy of his own home computer. Judge Walker told the liberal San Francisco former talk show host for KGO radio that he was very disturbed to read the Instant Messages to a dominatrix with whom he was communicating explicit sexual fantasies about touching the genitalia of his own children and wanting to have sex with their friends (plus photos she sent to the police.)
I sat in the back row of the federal court building today watching the disturbing conclusion of a chain of events that led to my former colleague receiving seven years and 3 months in the federal slammer for transmitting child pornography on the Internet. Federal prosecuters recommended 9 years, the defense asked for five and I hoped for the maximum of ten.
I watched as Bernie Ward's wife Colleen locked arms with three of her four children seated on a hard wooden bench while prosecutors described the victimization of 2 and 3 year old babies who were photographed being tortured, raped and fondled by Bernie Ward's perverted email pals.
Grimly, I listened as the Judge described the terms of his sentence. Country club jail at Lompoc. Supervised release for the rest of his life. Drug testing. Special assessments. Sex offender evaluation, sex offender registration. The special treatment that Ward recieved with a delay to report for jail until 12:00 noon tomorrow.
"I regret my actions, the harm to my family, my friends and this court. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I am sorry" said Ward to Judge Walker.
Sorry for what? That he got caught? That he got fired? That he is humiliated? I did not hear Bernie Ward apologize to the children in the pictures or their families for victimizing them by passing the pornography around, or especially to his own kids, whom he discussed in sexual terms with the woman who ultimately turned him into the FBI.
"No question we are dealing with a personal tragedy for the defendant, his family and the community. I have read many eloquent letters of support and Bernie Ward's work as a broadcaster was highly laudable", Walker said. "But Mr. Ward, you come from a strongly religious background. You were sexually abused as a child. It's difficult for me to understand why you didn't try to get help after experiencing abuse yourself, and seeing it in your own Catholic church."
Yes, that is the pertinent point. Instead, Bernie made up a pack of lies about how the Right Wing conspiracy and the evil George Bush were out to get him. He apparently still believes that, because that is very close to what his wife told reporters after the sentencing conclusion today.
ABC 7's I-Team reporter Dan Noyes, who broke this shocking story, says that during a sidewalk interview outside the federal building, Ward's wife Dr. Colleen Halloran, a San Francisco pediatrician, lashed out at the government prosecution.
You could almost hear echoes of Bernie Ward’s radio show in his wife’s statement: “This whole proceeding has been crushing with an anvil. The justice department sure hasn't got any of the real terrorists out there, they got us into a war that was based on a lie, they can't control the economy, they can't control gas prices, but oh boy they got that really dangerous criminal Bernie Ward off the street and have destroyed his family, I thank you all very much.”
Jack Swanson, KGO's Vice-President of Programming (full disclosure; my husband) had no comment for reporters today, saying only that he came to the proceeding to get some closure.
But I do. Bernie may have been an alcoholic, sexually molested survivor, but he still has not taken responsibility for his actions. (I predicted many years ago that we would someday hear that Ward was sexually abused.) This is a man who mouthed the words, but contrition wasn't part of the deal.. you know, like a sociopath, with no empathy for his victims.
Bernie turned down a five year plea bargain because he insisted that we believe the crazy claim that he was practicing good journalism in writing a book to expose the "hypocrisy" of conservatives and our alleged "perversions."
But the only twisted one going to jail is the Lion of the Left ....and no one else.
Prayers for these people. Hurry, they need God's help.