Ex-county worker gets jail for child porn

March 31, 2008 9:15:50 AM PDT
A former San Mateo County Controller's Office auditor was sentenced to 16 months in state prison today after prosecutors said he was revictimizing the children pictured in the 150,000 pornographic images he possessed on various computers.

Alex Kerr, 39, of San Mateo, appeared in court wearing a red prison jumpsuit and stood quietly next to his attorney Charles Smith during this morning's hearing.

Smith asked that Judge Clifford Cretan weigh the mitigating factors in his client's life. This is the first offense for Kerr, and the probation report states that he is at low risk to re-offend. He also accepted responsibility for his acts and has shown remorse.

Kerr's wife has filed for divorce. The couple has two daughters. Smith also said the fact that Kerr previously worked for the county should not increase the sentence.

"I don't think that your employer, whether it be Oracle, San Mateo County or the DMV, should be an aggravating factor in sentencing," Smith said. He was arguing for Kerr to be released on probation, or only receive time in the county jail, not state prison.

However, prosecutors said that by downloading these images, for which he employed sophisticated methods, Kerr is creating a demand for child pornography. Some of the images he downloaded contained girls as young as 10-years-old.

Kerr, who will have to register as a sex offender upon his release, was a senior internal auditor for the controller's office from February 2003 through December 2005 and was issued a laptop by the county that was later found to have downloaded pornographic images of young girls, according to Deputy District Attorney Aaron Fitzgerald.

The FBI began an investigation and notified county officials in 2006, Fitzgerald said.

A continuing investigation and search of Kerr's home computer revealed more images and videos of child pornography, with children ranging in age from teenagers to toddlers, according to Fitzgerald.

Kerr was arrested Oct. 18, 2007, and later charged with 15 felony counts of possession of child pornography, according to Fitzgerald.


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