Former 5th Grade Teacher in Cambridge, MA Convicted for Possession of Massive Child Porn Stash

A 28-year-old former 5th grade teacher at the Graham & Parks School in Cambridge, Mass. was convicted last Wednesday of possessing child pornography, but was acquitted of a more serious production charge.

Josh Wairi, who previously taught in the Somerville School District at the high school and the John F. Kennedy Elementary School, was arrested in April 2014 on charges of transporting child pornography. He was identified on the basis of his email address as a potential suspect during a federal investigation into child porn trafficking. Following his arrest, police examined his computer and found that Wairi had uploaded 8 videos to the Internet and had compiled a stash of underage images consisting of more than 26,000 photographs and 530 videos.

Wairi reportedly told police that he had videotaped children in a school locker room. Prosecutors introduced evidence consisting of photos and videos of young boys in a bathroom that allegedly focused on their genitals. Prosecutors alleged that Wairi included those images in his child porn collection and edited them in such a way as to make them “lewd, lascivious, or obscene.”

Defense counsel and prosecutors clashed over whether an image is “lewd” or “lascivious” as a matter of law (i.e., the judge makes the determination), or whether it is a question of fact for the jury. U.S. District Court Judge William Young ruled that the decision is in the province of the jury and advised the panel that it should determine whether the images were lascivious using an objective standard, i.e., whether the images contained “sexually explicit activity,” as opposed to a subjective standard based on what Wairi himself might have found sexually arousing.

Applying that standard, the jury found Wairi guilty of possessing and transporting child pornography but not guilty of production.

Wairi is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29. He could be sentenced to between 5 and 20 years in prison for both the possession and transporting charges. The judge could also impose between 5 years and a lifetime of supervised release following his time in prison and fine Wairi up to $250,000 on each count.

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