Guilty Verdict

Eugene Robert Anderson
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A three-week trial, featuring nearly two and a-half weeks of testimony, has ended with the conviction of the former Chairman of Marietta College's Computer Science Department.

The jury found Anderson guilty of most of the more than 130 charges against him.

Washington County Prosecutor Mike Spahr didn't mince words about Anderson.

"This person had been preying on young people, living in chat rooms where children who have some question about their sexuality or who they are go," Spahr said after the verdict was announced. "And in some of the chats talked with them about things we can't talk about."

Anderson was accused of using his home and college computers to store and download child pornography images. Robert Sandford, who also worked at Marietta College and later, Ohio University, also was originally charged in the case.

Sandford died last spring of exposure to a chemical called Colchicine. He had claimed before his death someone was trying to kill him, but it never has been officially ruled whether he died as a result of foul play.

"The fact they found (Anderson) possessed those images, certainly shows the jury did not accept the theory that Robert Sandford did it," Spahr said.

The charges on which Anderson was acquitted involved placing of images on what was called a "Jazz" disk, an issue brought up repeatedly during the trial.

Scott Longo of the Ohio Attorney General's office, who assisted in the case, praised the jury for its work.

"If the defense could confuse (the jury) with their version of the technical facts, and they had a great expert to work with the defendant," Longo said. " I think our fear was, if we talked over their heads, they'd be confused. They proved they weren't confused."

Anderson showed little emotion, and often conferred with his attorney, George Cosenza, as the lengthy verdict was being read. Neither had any public comment.

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24.