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Area man sentenced for child porn charges

September 24, 2013
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer (wscott@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - A Wintersville man and coach for a traveling softball team has been sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty to four counts of possession of child pornography.

The sentence for James Alan Sepik, 46, of Wintersville was ordered Monday by 1st Judicial Circuit Court Judge Ronald Wilson, who noted Sepik also will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years following his release.

It came after Sepik pleaded guilty to four counts of child pornography through a plea agreement reached by Robert Gaudio, Sepik's court-appointed attorney, and Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III.

Barki said Sepik could have faced numerous other counts of possession for hundreds of other images found on a flash drive belonging to him. The flash drive was found on June 26 near the Follansbee softball field by a woman who turned it into police, according to court documents.

According to documents, the images depicted minors and were downloaded from the Internet.

Barki said an investigation by West Virginia State Police found no evidence that any of them were of softball players Sepik knew or that Sepik had made inappropriate contact with the players.

It was Sepik's first appearance in Circuit Court since his case was bound over from Brooke County Magistrate Court, where his preliminary hearing was held.

Wilson asked how police determined the flash drive belonged to Sepik.

Barki said the flash drive contained documents bearing his name and upon his arrest, Sepik admitted the pornographic images were his.

Asked whether that confession could be admitted as evidence, Gaudio said his client "was totally aware of what he was saying to the officers on that day."

Later Gaudio confirmed Sepik understood the impact of the plea agreement and was satisfied with the matter's resolution.

 
 

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