Ex-OSU employee pleads no contest in porn case


Saturday, July 17th 2004, 12:04 pm
By: News On 6


STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ A former Oklahoma State University employee faces a Sept. 10 formal sentencing after pleading no contest in a child pornography case.

Payne County prosecutors initially charged David Wayne Pace with possession of child pornography and violation of computer crimes in March 2003.

But Pace, 51, on Thursday entered a plea to an amended charge of violation of computer crimes.

The OSU extension specialist was charged after a faculty member reported discovering obscene material on a shared computer drive used for the animal science system analysis department.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Lee said the charge was amended because one of the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt is the age of the subjects in the pornographic photos.

``We would have to actually identify the children in the photos,'' he said. ``That is virtually impossible.''

A manager from computer services at the university was consulted and asked for ownership information of the files, according to an affidavit.

Pace's user name was allegedly found to be associated with the images, leading to the seizure of his departmental computer.

An OSU network security specialist examined the computer and discovered six images on the shared computer drive, the affidavit stated.

His departmental hard drive contained thousands of obscene images, several of which contained images of child pornography, investigators alleged.

Pace's attorney said his client pleaded ``no contest'' because they felt if a jury heard the evidence against him, he would be convicted.

The felony charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.