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Child Exploitation
11/17/2008

Wharton professor pleads guilty to child porn charges

PHILADELPHIA - A former University of Pennsylvania professor pleaded guilty to child porn charges after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Lawrence Scott Ward, 66, pleaded guilty on November 17 to two counts of inducing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce a visual depiction, two counts of transporting and shipping child pornography, and one count of making false statements to the U.S. State Department as a result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At the time he committed the crimes, Ward was an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Ward was charged with inducing a 16-year- old boy to engage in sexual activity - including with Ward - and making and shipping images of that activity into the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He was also accused of using his position as an Emeritus Professor at Wharton in his attempt to secure a visa for the boy from the U.S. State Department's Consulate General in Recife, Brazil, to bring the victim to the United States. In his efforts to bring the boy to the United States, Ward falsely asserted that he knew the boy's family and that they were wealthy, to dispel fears that the boy was poor and would become an illegal immigrant.

By pleading guilty today, Ward admitted that he used his University of Pennsylvania e-mail account to write to the boy, and that he then took trips to Brazil during which he caused pictures and videos to be made of the minor engaged in sexual activity. On August 7, 2006, defendant Ward sent a package by Federal Express from Maui, Hawaii, to his office at the University of Pennsylvania. The package contained six DVDs, each containing a video recording of Ward having sex with the victim on different occasions during June and July 2006. On August 8, 2006, defendant Ward mailed a package from Dulles Airport in Virginia to his University of Pennsylvania office, which contained a CD with numerous sexually explicit photographs of the 16 year old victim taken during March and April 2006.

The defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment for the enticement charge, up to a total of 105 years imprisonment for all charges, a fine of up to $1,250,000, five years of supervised release, and $500 in special assessments when sentenced on February 19, 2009. This sentence will run concurrent to the 15 year sentence Ward received in the Eastern District of Virginia in June 2007 for conviction of importation of child pornography. The charges in Virginia stem from Ward's entry into the U.S. through Virginia in possession of additional sexually explicit images of the same minor made by the defendant in Brazil in August of 2006.