St. Landry

Oct 18, 2013 2:59 PM

Former child psychologist convicted on child pornography charges

A federal jury found former child psychiatrist Gary Jefferson Byrd, 71, of Opelousas, guilty of possessing and receiving child pornography.

United States District Judge Richard T. Haik presided over the trial.

Following a two-day trial, a jury found Byrd guilty on Oct. 8 of one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography after deliberating for 40 minutes.

Based on witness testimony and documents admitted into evidence, from February 2008 to April 2011, Byrd ordered 44 compact discs containing videos of child pornography from a Canadian company. United States Postal Inspectors executed a search warrant on Byrd's home and found stacks of compact discs containing thousands of images of child pornography that Byrd had downloaded from the Internet.

He also printed hundreds of images of child pornography that he kept in files next to his bed.

Byrd was previously convicted in 1992 by a federal jury of possessing child pornography and served 10 years in prison for that crime. Prior to his conviction, his employment was as a child psychiatrist.

Because of Byrd's prior child pornography conviction, he faces 5 years to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of child pornography, and he also faces 15 years to 40 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for receiving child pornography. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice launched nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE.

The U.S. Postal Service Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker is prosecuting the case.

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