Man Convicted In Internet Child Pornography Case Featured In Congressional Hearing

Saturday, March 10th 2007, 2:28 pm
By: News On 6

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ A man accused at a congressional hearing of molesting a teenage boy has been convicted of charges including enticing a child to engage in sexually abusive activity.

Ken Gourlay was convicted Friday following a weeklong trial and more than three hours of jury deliberations. He faces up to 20 years in state prison when sentenced May 2 by Circuit Court Judge Archie Brown.

Gourlay, 29, was accused of sexually assaulting Justin Berry and using him to produce and distribute child pornography over the Internet.

Berry said he began performing sexual acts on the Internet in 1999, when he was 13. Prosecutors say Berry, who now is an adult, was lured to Ann Arbor from California in 2002 to attend a computer camp and was molested by Gourlay.

Berry's claims drew wide attention when he testified before Congress in April about online child pornography.

Gourlay was one of several men arrested on charges involving child pornography after Berry began working with the Justice Department. One of them, Gregory Mitchel, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Gourlay was convicted of a total of nine felony charges and one misdemeanor, the state attorney general's office said. Other charges included using a computer to engage in child sexually abusive activity, distributing child pornography over the Internet and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Defense lawyer James Howarth asserted that many of the prosecution witnesses lied.

Berry's testimony before Congress came after his case was highlighted by The New York Times. The Times acknowledged Tuesday that the reporter who wrote the acclaimed 2005 article about Berry and Web sex sites run by teenagers had helped gain the boy's trust by sending him a $2,000 check.

Gourlay also is charged in a separate case with 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 14-year-old boy from the Detroit area.