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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — A 24-year-old airman was ordered jailed Tuesday after his conviction on child pornography charges in a general court-martial here.

Senior Airman Bernard J. Howard of the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron was sentenced to eight months of confinement, reduction to pay grade E-1 and a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force following his conviction on a charge of possessing child pornography.

It could not be learned Tuesday night whether the verdict would be appealed.

The judge, Air Force Col. Steven A. Hatfield, pronounced the sentence Tuesday afternoon in the one-day trial. Hatfield, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, is chief military judge of the Pacific Circuit.

Howard had chosen to be tried before a military judge alone rather than before a jury.

Prosecutors said military customs inspectors found child pornography in Howard’s household goods in January 2004, after selecting him at random for an inspection of his belongings.

The agents went to his dorm room and, with Howard’s consent, went through his goods as they were being unpacked.

Investigators eventually found 6,000 pornographic images stored on Howard’s computer; of those, 17 were child pornography.

Inspectors from U.S. Forces Korea and the Air Force routinely hold spot inspections of randomly selected passengers when they fly into Osan Air Base.

The inspections sometimes are limited to a passenger’s luggage and are done at the passenger terminal on base.

But other inspections are done of household goods that have been delivered to new arrivals’ dorms.

During arguments before the judge Tuesday, Capt. Shane Cohen, one of Howard’s two defense attorneys, asked the judge to find Howard innocent.

The prosecution, Cohen argued, had failed to provide conclusive evidence that, in downloading images, Howard had intended to download child porn.

Cohen is deputy chief circuit defense counsel for the Pacific Circuit, assigned to Yokota. Also representing Howard was Capt. Elizabeth M.D. Pullin, area defense counsel at Osan Air Base.

Capt. Charles Baum, prosecutor in the case, countered that Howard deserved to be held accountable for the 17 images stored on his computer. Baum is assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing legal office here.

After sentencing, Howard was driven to Camp Humphreys, about a 30-minute drive to the south, to be jailed in the base confinement facility.


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