Crime

Graphic photos examined in Lee trial

The child pornography trial of Christopher Lee continued Wednesday.
The child pornography trial of Christopher Lee continued Wednesday. Centre Daily Times, file

It was picture day at the child pornography trial of the former executive director of the Boal Mansion Museum.

But, the pictures shown in the U.S. Middle District Court trial of Christopher Lee were so graphic only jurors, Judge Matthew W. Brann and the attorneys saw them.

They were part of a continuing effort by the government to prove that Lee possessed, produced and received child pornography.

FBI agent Clifton Vikara, who was on the witness stand most of the day, said some of the pictures show young boys engaged in sexual activity.

Vikara told jurors that computers, hard drives and thumb drives taken from the museum in Boalsburg contained more than 69,000 images that he linked to Lee’s user account.

Defense attorney Kyle Rude elicited from another prosecution witness if others put something on Lee’s computers it would show Lee’s user account.

There were 26 documents discovered in password-protected devices that contained graphic story lines along with child pornographic images and nudity, Vikara testified.

Also found, he said, were pictures that had been taken at the museum of clothed young boys cropped to focus on the genital area.

The agent noted the similarity between those close-ups and wider-angle pictures found on the museum’s public Web page.

Vikara’s testimony was interrupted late in the day to allow two defense witnesses from Paris to be taken out of turn because an interpreter was not available Thursday.

Jean-Louis DuFloux testified his parents sent him to the museum in 1977 to learn English and they sent him back two years later so he could improve his English.

He said he served as a tour guide for French visitors and did maintenance work.

There were no computers in the museum or second-floor residence area when he was there, he said. But his son used them when he spent the summer as a tour guide in 2009, he said.

DuFloux’s daughter Josephine testified that everyone knew the password and used the computer in the tour guide’s office on the first floor when she was there in 2012.

The same was true of a computer in a second-floor office and there was Wi-Fi throughout the mansion, she said.

Lee carried a laptop computer he kept in his bedroom throughout the mansion but she testified she could not recall if anyone else used it.

It is one of the computers on which investigators said they found pornographic images of minors.

Her testimony revealed Lee and her family were good friends. He would visit them each March in France, she said.

Vikara will continue to identify pictures and documents found on computers and other devices seized from the museum when he returns to the stand Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Taylor said.

Besides the pornography charges, Lee, 66, is on trial for obstructing justice after allegedly asking his cousin to make arrangements to “wipe” the cellphone the FBI had seized.

John Thompson was questioned extensively Tuesday about the collect phone call he received from Lee from the Columbia County Prison after his arrest Oct. 2, 2014. Lee has been detained without bail since then.

Thompson testified the requests to “wipe” the phone stopped after he told his cousin he learned from an attorney it would be obstruction of justice.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case Thursday.

Lee is facing a second trial for which no date has been set on charges he enticed and transported two boys, 14 and 17, to the museum with the intent to engage in sexual activity with them.

Those charges were severed from the child pornography and obstruction of justice counts.

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