Journalist Gets 6 1/2 Years for Child Porn

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A longtime managing editor of River Parish weekly newspapers who has been sent to prison for 6 1/2 years for possessing child pornography and forbidden ever to own anything that can connect him to the Internet.

Leonard Gray, who resigned as managing editor at L’Observateur in LaPlace shortly after he was arrested in August 2006, was sentenced last week on two federal counts of possession and receipt of materials involving sexual exploitation of minors. He had pleaded guilty earlier.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle sentenced Gray to 78 months in prison on each count, to run at the same time. He also fined Gray $12,500, including the cost of confinement at the St. Charles Parish jail where he has been held since his arrest.

Before going to work at L’Observateur, Gray had been managing editor of the St. Charles Herald-Guide, based in Boutte.

FBI agents first arrested Gray in a parking lot where he believed he was going to meet a 16-year-old girl he had met in an Internet chat room for a sexual encounter, according to court documents.

Gray was not charged in that case, but the FBI got a search warrant for his home computer, where agents found child pornography, according to court documents.

Once Gray is released, he will have to register as a sex offender and be subject to supervised probation for life. He also is forbidden to own a computer or other device capable of connecting to the Internet.

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