Crime

Fresno teacher sent to prison for child porn

A longtime Fresno music teacher was sentenced Monday to 6 1/2 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. But his biggest challenge still likely lies ahead.

On June 8, Terry Zane will face in court one of the girls shown in the pictures authorities found on his computer.

The girl is now 17, but was molested by her father when she was 10 and 11 years old. The father took photos that in turn went into circulation among child pornography traders.

In what could be an emerging trend, prosecutor David Gappa said the girl has put in a claim seeking restitution from not only Zane, but others convicted in U.S. District Court in Fresno on federal child pornography charges in which her picture was found. Gappa plans to seek money during simultaneous restitution hearings on June 8.

Last month, in an unrelated case, a federal judge in Connecticut ordered a man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography to pay about $200,000 in restitution to a woman who was photographed being sexually abused when she was a child.

The judge in that case said his ruling was the first such order in a criminal case that involved a person who possessed the child pornography, but did not create the images.

Gappa read a letter from the girl in court. In the letter, she told how fondling by her father eventually led to oral and anal sex. After she confronted him, the abuse stopped. Then, years later, authorities contacted her and she discovered that images of the abuse were on the Internet. Authorities did not give her name or hometown.

Zane, 58, was arrested last August on child pornography charges after he took his desktop computer to a local repair shop. The shop owner had the computer only for a few hours when he called police, saying he had found child pornography pictures on the hard drive.

For two years before his arrest, Zane had split his time between Wolters and Lawless elementary schools in the Fresno Unified School District.

Police said an examination of the computer yielded more than 1,000 pictures of children ages 3 to 17, posing in the nude, and other 5- to 6-year-olds engaged in sex acts with adults.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said earlier that it does not appear any of Zane's students were involved.

Before Gappa read the letter from the young victim, Zane addressed U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, accepting responsibility for his actions.

"The cost of curiosity is high and I can say, in retrospect, not worth it," Zane said.

Shackled and wearing a red jail jumpsuit, Zane told Ishii how he had found God in Fresno County Jail and will speak to others about the evils of child pornography after his release.

He choked up as he apologized for "bad judgment that brought sorrow" to family, friends, and the young girls in the pornographic photos he possessed.

His wife of 33 years, Susanne, told about how she met her husband and how good a father he was to his two daughters. "Terry is a good man, your honor, a kind man," she told Ishii.

Besides serving more than six years in prison, Zane will be on probation for 10 years after his release and will have to register as a sex offender. He also was fined $4,000, half of which will go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Ishii, however, rejected a request by prosecutors for a larger fine, saying it would hit Susanne Zane, who is not guilty of any crime.

Said Ishii: "Obviously, everybody loses in this situation."

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