Former ‘Newsday’ CEO/Publisher Charged in Child Porn Case

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A former Newsday publisher and chief executive — who once served on a state education board — has been charged with possessing child pornography taken off the Internet, authorities said Tuesday.

Robert Johnson, 59, was awaiting arraignment after surrendering to federal agents. A U.S. magistrate agreed to release him if he posted $500,000 bail, submitted to monitoring of his home computer and continued a counseling program.

Johnson is the former chief executive of Bowne & Co. Inc., an international printing firm headquartered in Manhattan. He was Newsday’s publisher and chief executive from 1986 to 1994, when he resigned, said Stu Vincent, a spokesman for the newspaper.

Johnson, who lives in Huntington, also represented Long Island on the state Board of Regents from April 1995 until he resigned last year without giving a reason.

Defense attorney Stephen Scaring said Johnson was not involved in child pornography and told reporters outside court his client would plead not guilty.

Prosecutors allege that Johnson used his computer at Bowne & Co. to download two films containing child pornography from Web sites being monitored by federal investigators.

In May 2004, after learning that agents had contacted his company, Johnson allegedly sought to destroy incriminating files on his computer. He retired about a week later and shortly afterward stepped down from the state board.

He is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography and willfully destroying a record. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 50 years in prison, prosecutors said.

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