Leading Labor Lawyer Arrested For Child Pornography in Maine

492385_738987-wingerLawrence Winger, a leading labor and employment lawyer in Maine, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with possessing child pornography. Winger, 63, consented to a search of his office where investigators allegedly found dozens of images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity. Winger has a blog specializing in labor and employment issues.

Police say that they traced child pornography over the Internet to Winger’s IP address at his home. They say that Winger cooperated with the search and admitted to “deliberately keeping” a hard drive containing the pornography.

Winger is charged with possessing sexually explicit images of children under 12, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Winger is a well-known export on labor and employment law who graduated magna cum laude from Yale with a degree in economics in 1972, and cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1975. He is the author of the “Maine Employer’s Handbook.” He was also chairman of the Human Resources Committee of the Maine Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1993 to 1995. He is married with two grown children.

Winger has advised companies in the need to keep details behind terminations confidential to avoid defamation lawsuit. There is no such protection in a criminal case like this, of course. He is looking at a heavy potential sentence (even though he was given a low bail) and, even if acquitted, his main practice representing employers and businesses is unlikely to rebound from this case. That is assuming that he ever practices again, which seems a remote likelihood at this point. It is a considerable fall for a leading lawyer in this field, but these cases tend to be viewed as cut and dry by jurors. If he consented to the search, motions to suppress will be difficult. If the hard drive contains the images, these prosecutions have a very high conviction rate.

Source: Press Herald

20 thoughts on “Leading Labor Lawyer Arrested For Child Pornography in Maine”

  1. He’s 63. What do you think the chances are that he never acted on his impulses? I hope he didn’t, but I have serious doubts.

    And there are teams of cops who have to go through those images, trying to identify the children. I’ve heard it’s a very depressing, demoralizing job, when they can’t find the poor kids.

    George – I just read your post. This sounds similar to what you did. That must have been unbelievably hard, but also incredibly important to protect children.

  2. I have a bottle of dog urine stored in a milk bottle in the closet. It is ugly. I possess it. It is not for my consumption. It may be evil but mere possession does not mean that I intend to pour it onto someone’s head or make evil use of it. Porn on a computer is sort of the same thing.

  3. bettykath, then there is also the matter of sharing your iNet connection with, say, a neighbor or visitor, in which case the IP address is the same for you and the shared connection. If someone commits a crime using your shared connection, you are then at risk of being accused, too. It’s like loaning your car to someone who commits a bank robbery, the license plate number used by the police to knock on your front door. Even if you’ve been home all day, the police will not believe you, promptly hauling your butt downtown.

    I never share my hotspot with someone I don’t trust.

  4. Why does anyone consent to a search ever? Do they think prosecutors will charge them with lesser crimes if they don’t make police get a search warrant?

    If curious, truely I don’t understand this perspective especially from a lawyer.

  5. A decade or so ago I was with Cyber Angels. I don’t know if what I did then still goes on. Sites were reported as having child porn images and my task was to view them and judge whether they really were. Many reported sites were not, technically, child porn. I’m happy to report I got a dozen or so sites shut down. After a couple of years I couldn’t take it any more and had to stop.

    Apparently there is a huge number of people (some women, too) who at least fantasize about young children judging from some site hits. A pretty prevalent problem.

    Solution? I dunno.

  6. Samantha, good points. It might also be that he isn’t the only one using that computer.

    I had a young teen staying with me once in awhile. He had use of the computer for games. When I started getting emails about porn sites, I did some checking. He was cruising out of curiosity, adults only. We had an interesting conversation.

  7. Have any of you commenters here ever bought a second hand computer? If so, think carefully before you preach. You might be a porn possessor yourself.

    Also, who possesses the porn images now that they have been seized? Some clerk at the court? Hmm. Charge that perp too. And who or what company sent the images over the internet? Yahoo? Charge them too. Slippery slope for dopes.

  8. Aporia: Expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain as to what he should think, say, or do.

  9. Samantha, Good passionate comment. However, the presumption of innocence, a cornerstone of our democracy, is in the courtroom, not in our general discourse. The First Amendment is in play there.

  10. Possession of child pornography is not a “porn habit.” It is a serious (and apparently untreatable) psychological illness. Although we shouldn’t rush to judgment, Mr. Winger may have consented to the search because he recognized that the truth would come out and that his obsession is sick and dangerous.

  11. “Winger cooperated with the search and admitted to “deliberately keeping” a hard drive containing the pornography.”

    I’m always puzzled by a high profile case like this, where the suspect allows the search, admits to deliberately keeping a hard drive where police find child pronography. Ya, but did Winger know there was child pornography on the drive? In other words, who would allow such a search, except one who is innocent? Is there any chance he was framed?

    We know from Frontline’s “The Real CSI,” just how flawed and corrupt the forensic lab industry is, never mind the judicial system, itself. It’s likely this same flaw and orruption extends to digital forensics, too. If lab technicians can fudge fingerprints to gain an indictment, they can do the same thing with an IP address. And a software Trojan horse could’ve placed pornography on his hard drive, without Winger ever knowing.

    If Mr Winger has a political enemy, somewhere high up in Washington, say, there isn’t anything that can prevent an innocent man from being accused of a crime like this. Heck, anyone can hire a hacker for a few thousand dollars to do the same thing. And it’s always child pornography, isn’t it? It’s a crime easily fabricated using nothing more than a simple Trojan horse, no different from the commercial versions that jam adverts on our storage, rob our resources and slow down our CPU. That next advert of a new GM car that pops up on your screen, well, it can easily be a pornographic picture, too. That is how prolific Trojan horses are, easily manipulated by any devious mind to get anyone in trouble.

    Because of the stigma of a crime like this, everyone votes for conviction before the trial, including friends, relatives and family members.

    Don’t call me cynical. I’m just a huge fan of The Innocence Project. I also believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. On a blog like this, there should be plenty more that feel the same as I do.

  12. Squeeky, Dennis Miller did a great rant on shitbirds like this. He says, listen, I understand this is a primal craving. But you can’t hurt kids. Even watching stuff like this is hurting kids. So, if you can’t control these evil urges you can do one courageous final act. KILL YOURSELF!

  13. My wife was a Federal Probation Officer whose specialty was conducting presentence investigations and writing presentence reports, recommending the appropriate sentences. Over her career, she had to do an increasing number of presentence investigations on despicable people like this barrister. Part of that investigation required my wife to look @ these images and videos. The reports on people like this shitbird seldom report just how bad these are. They often involve clear rape and violence. Hearing the screams of children being raped would haunt my caring, but tough wife. Hell, she was the first woman caseworker @ Leavenworth when she was in her 20’s. But, nothing prepared her for this duty.

  14. I think the state bar and ABA need to be held responsible for allowing this guy to practice law. If the NRA can be blamed for the 9 year old killing the gun instructor, the ABA can be held responsible for this guy’s conduct. They are on the hook because they did not monitor his computer files better.

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