Almanac

News - July 31, 2013

Ex-probation chief found guilty of possessing child-porn

A former San Mateo County probation chief was found guilty July 26 of possessing child pornography.

Stuart James Forrest, 61, was found guilty by a San Mateo County Superior Court jury of two counts of possession of child pornography.

He will be sentenced Sept. 20 and remains out of custody on $100,000 bail, said Lynda Gledhill of the California Attorney General's office.

The case was turned over to the state attorney general's office due to the close working relationships Mr. Forrest had with county judges and the district attorney's office over his 30-plus year career in San Mateo County. Visiting Judge Robert Atack presided over the trial.

Mr. Forrest will be required to register as a sex offender as part of his sentencing.

The former probation chief was arrested in December 2012 after being named in a complaint by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that alleged he possessed hundreds of images of child pornography on his personal computer.

He was placed on formal administrative leave Dec. 21 and retired Dec. 31.

During the Redwood City trial, Mr. Forrest testified that he had collected the images and videos for the purpose of policy decisions and research into the rising onset of human trafficking.

When interviewed by police, Mr. Forrest had denied using his credit card to order videos of exploited young boys through Azov Films, for delivery to his Tracy home.

In court, he said he had denied the allegations because he was "shocked" that he was the target of an investigation, and acknowledged that he had ordered the film, but said it was for research into probation policy.

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