A former San Mateo County probation chief was found guilty today of possessing child pornography, according to the California Attorney General’s office. Stuart James Forrest, 61, was found guilty of two counts of possession of child pornography, according to Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the attorney general. Forrest will be sentenced Sept. 20 and remains out of custody on $100,000 bail, Gledhill said.
He will be required to register as a sex offender as part of his sentencing. The former probation chief was arrested in December 2012 after being named in a complaint by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that alleged he possessed hundreds of images of child pornography on his personal computer. Forrest was placed on formal administrative leave Dec. 21 and retired Dec. 31. Earlier this week, Forrest testified that he had collected the images and videos for the purpose of policy decisions and research into the rising onset of human trafficking.
When interviewed by police, Forrest had denied using his credit card to order videos of exploited young boys through Azov Films, for delivery to his Tracy home. In court, he said he had denied the allegations because he was “shocked” that he was the target of an investigation, and acknowledged that he had ordered the film, but said it was for research into probation policy. The case was turned over to the state attorney general’s office due to the close working relationships Forrest had with county judges and the district attorney’s office over his 30-plus year career in San Mateo County. Visiting Judge Robert Atack is presiding.
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