Bernie Ward sentenced for child porn

Bernie Ward, the popular radio talk-show host disgraced by federal child-pornography charges, was sentenced Thursday to seven years and two months in prison.

Ward, who is married and has four children, was fired in December 2007 from KGO-AM in San Francisco after a grand jury indictment accused him of actively uploading and sharing images of child pornography on the Internet. His KGO-AM shows included the Sunday morning “God Talk” program.

“I feel very sorry for you and your family,” Judge Vaughn Walker told Ward. The judge said he was troubled by Ward’s hypocrisy — while the former priest was lambasting the Roman Catholic Church for not rooting out pedophiles in its ranks, he failed to get help for his own predilections, Walker noted.

Police began investigating Ward in 2005 after a woman from Oakdale reported the former radio host had sent her a series of images depicting children engaging in or simulating sex acts. Authorities said the woman was an online dominatrix, who had a series of anonymous online interactions with Ward, whom she referred to as her “slave.”

Ward admitted to sending between 15 and 150 pornographic images by e-mail as part of his plea deal.

In court Thursday, Ward apologized to his friends, family and the community as his loved ones wept in the gallery. “I do take full responsibility for those actions,” he said.

In May, Ward pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography, part of a plea bargain that dismissed two other charges.

He will begin his sentence Thursday at the minimum-security Lompoc facility. After his release, Ward will undergo supervised probation for the rest of his life and must register as a sex offender.

Ward’s defense attorney, Doron Weinberg, called the case the saddest of his career and noted that more than 100 people wrote letters attesting to his client’s work in the community.

“What’s profoundly sad is that Bernie Ward is a very good man,” he said. “This conduct spanned a brief period in an exemplary life.”

But prosecutor Steve Grocki said Ward’s appetite for child pornography supported a trade that ruined lives.

“Looking at those pictures, the faces are silent but their torment and anguish is represented,” he said. “He traded in the currency of human suffering — of children’s suffering.”

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewscourtsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A man holds a sign at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

School Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, chats with Superintendent Vincent Matthews in between greeting students on the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Roger Marenco, president of operators union TWU Local 250-A, speaks at a news conference outside the Muni Kirkland Yard announcing Muni will not be increasing fares on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s union leader encourages riders to say ‘thank you’ to their Muni operators

A conversation with Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 250A

Most Read