Ex-Chief Of Police Convicted
Child Pornography Charges Prompted Firing by Md. Town
By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 20, 2004; Page B05
A federal jury in Prince George's County yesterday convicted a former Seat Pleasant police chief on charges of possessing child pornography and enticing a teenage boy to pose for sexually explicit photographs.
Ronald C. Forrest, 39, committed the crimes while he was the town's police chief in early 2001, according to trial testimony in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. ordered him detained pending a sentencing hearing Aug. 18. At the request of federal marshals, Forrest removed his coat and tie and emptied his pockets before he was led from the courtroom.
After a two-day trial, the jury deliberated for about 4 1/2 hours. The jury convicted Forrest of two counts of enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct in order to take photos and two counts of possession of child pornography.
Forrest could be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for each of the enticement charges, prosecutors said. The possession of child pornography charges carry possible sentences of five years in prison for each count. Forrest also faces fines of as much as $1 million.
Forrest did not testify and his lawyers declined to comment on the verdict.
According to testimony, Forrest took sexually explicit photos of a boy whom he was mentoring. The boy, who is now 16, testified that he sometimes went to Forrest's home in Clinton to hang out. The boy was identified in court only as Steven.
The youth testified that Forrest took nude photos of him in 2001 after offering him $50 to $80 to disrobe. The youth said Forrest asked him to strike sexually provocative poses. Forrest also touched him in a sexual manner and performed a sex act, the youth testified.
One of Forrest's lawyers, Atiq Ahmed, said his client took the photos as part of an unofficial investigation into an incident at the D.C. jail. In that incident, the youth was among several D.C. schoolchildren who were improperly strip-searched during a visit to the jail in 2001.
Forrest was fired as Seat Pleasant's chief of police shortly after he was arrested in September. He had been chief since 1998.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company