|Former county man guilty of four child pornography charges|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Tribune|
|Thursday, 17 October 2013 10:35|
Thomas Folk was found guilty on all counts Wednesday following his trial on child pornography charges.
Folk, 52, currently of the Elyria area, appeared in the court of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey.
Folk, formerly of Weston, had been indicted on four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, and one count of possessing criminal tools. The charges stem from incidents on Aug. 2 of 2011.
Folk had previously been convicted of two felony counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor in April of 2005.
The single-day proceeding was held as a court trial, meaning the prosecution and defense presented their cases to the judge without a jury.
Prosecuting Attorney Heather Baker called four witnesses, including Gloria Lehman, Folk's now ex-wife, who testified that she discovered images depicting "a lot of young children" on Folk's cellular phone. She then confronted him about them, she said, but indicated that she would not turn over the telephone to the authorities if he did not fight her in ending their marriage. However, Lehman said she later turned the phone over to the Wood County Sheriff's Office in July of 2012 when their relationship further soured.
Lt. Terry James, who was then a detective at the time, investigated the case. In his testimony, he said that Toledo Police assisted in extracting the images from Folk's somewhat antiquated "track" cell phone, and that when he and another detective approached Folk at his residence in the Weston area, Folk admitted to obtaining the images.
James said he was also allowed to examine Folk's home computer at the time, which was accessing a site that contained both adult and child pornography.
That computer was also taken into evidence.
Det. Chris Clure of the Sheriff's Office testified about his back-up role in the encounter with Folk.
Det. Patrick Jones of the Perrysburg Police Department testified that he assisted in a forensic examination of the computer, finding child pornography there, identical to the images on Folk's phone.
During his cross examination of the witnesses, Folk's attor-
(See GUILTY on 8)
ney, Christopher Zografides. attempted to cast doubt on whether Folk himself had actually downloaded the images.
The defense called two witnesses, including Folk's adult stepdaughter, Olivia Baron, Custar, who testified that Folk had never done anything inappropriate in her presence.
Folk himself testified, stating that he "had no idea" that there had been pornography on the phone.
"She said there was pictures on the phone but would not show me the pictures," he said.
He also said that his alleged admission to Lt. James was a misunderstanding, and that he simply offered hypotheticals as to how the images may have ended up on his phone.
He also testified that there were no passwords on the computer at his home, and that many people had access to it, including a stepson who had been charged with rape.
Baker, in her cross examination of Folk, made much of the fact that Folk seemed to change his story about the passwords, as he later said there was one, easy-to-remember password on the computer that all users knew.
"In my state, if you know the password there is no password," he said.
During her summation, Baker addressed defense allegations that Lehman may have lied about pornographic images on Folk's phone, saying "I think that reason and common sense say she doesn't have a reason to make this stuff up."
Zografides, in his closing argument, said that a man of Folk's intelligence, with a prior conviction, would not "be so dumb to leave that (pornography) on his phone, to leave that on his computer," saying that Folk's ex-wife had a motive in her interest in leaving the marriage, and the fact that "numerous people had access to the computer."
Kelsey, after approximately 15 minutes of deliberation, returned with a verdict of guilty to all five counts. However, he asked council to examine the possibility of merging the four illegal use of a minor counts into two, since they involve the same two images.
Sentencing has been set for Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.
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