Ex-Youth Sports Coach Indicted on Child Pornography Charges

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 11, 2007

A former Arlington County youth sports coach who is a past president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges that he used a computer in his 10-year-old son's bedroom to view child pornography that a judge called "sickening."

Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, faces one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing it. He was first arrested on similar charges in February. Prosecutors then presented the case to a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

The allegations against Rust-Tierney, a public defender in the District who is a former president of Arlington Little League, have triggered strong emotions. More than two dozen people, including numerous fellow lawyers and his former wife, packed a federal courtroom in March to say that he should be released from jail, and parents of children he has coached wrote letters of support.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan said the material found on Rust-Tierney's computer was "the most perverted and nauseating and sickening type of child pornography" she has seen in 10 years on the bench. Prosecutors say he downloaded images that included the sexual torture of children, set to a song by the band Nine Inch Nails. Court documents said many of the children were under 12 years old.

The case has attracted national attention, with some critics and bloggers accusing the media of initially downplaying the story because of Rust-Tierney's ACLU connection. He was president of the board of directors of the ACLU's Virginia affiliate from 1993 to 2005 and resigned from the ACLU's board the day he was arrested.

Peter Greenspun, a lawyer for Rust-Tierney, did not return phone calls yesterday. Rust-Tierney has been jailed without bond since his arrest.

The indictment says Rust-Tierney "knowingly received multiple computer files that contained photo and video depictions of minor teenage and prepubescent children engaging in sexually explicit conduct." Federal officials have said he purchased the pornography with a credit card about 10 times, spending anywhere from $79.95 to $150.

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