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Jun 8, 2017 6:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Jay Sears Arrested For Violating Probation Terms Of Child Pornography Sentence

Jay Sears
Jun 13, 2017 2:28 PM

Jay Lockett Sears, an architect from East Quogue who was sentenced to six months of house arrest and five years of supervised release in 2014 after pleading guilty to felony child pornography possession charges, was arrested against last week for violating his probation terms.

According to Tyler Daniels, a press officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, Mr. Sears, now 78, was found to be in possession of “bags of severely explicit photos” where children’s faces were glued onto pictures of nude adults engaging in sex, and also featured sexually explicit captions. He said there was no indication that Mr. Sears posted the photos on the internet.

Unlike his 2013 arrest, when prosecutors stated that Mr. Sears made explicit images using the faces of identifiable children—including those of girls he met through his Quogue-based charity, the Mission of Kindness foundation—this time they said the disgraced philanthropist relied on the images of children appearing in magazines to make his pornographic creations.

Mr. Daniels said Mr. Sears was arrested at his home in East Quogue last Thursday, June 8, after lying to his probation officer about the photographs found inside his residence. Mr. Sears was then taken to a hospital in Suffolk County—Mr. Daniels would not specify which one, or explain why he was being treated—and he was arraigned in his hospital bed by U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley, the same justice who accepted Mr. Sears’s plea agreement that permitted him to avoid an extensive jail sentence three years ago.

If convicted this time, Mr. Sears, who was ordered held without bail, could face up to three years in prison. Mr. Daniels declined to disclose where Mr. Sears is being held, citing concerns for his safety.

His attorney, Randi Chavis of the Federal Defenders of New York, a division of the Legal Aid Society, did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment this week.

As was the case the last time Mr. Sears was arrested, the prosecution will be led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode. In 2014, Mr. Bode had asked the court to sentence Mr. Sears to between 24 and 30 months in prison, which would have been in line with federal guidelines.

Mr. Bode did not immediately return calls this week.

Once known for his propensity for wearing white suits and donning a pair of angel’s wings while promoting his Mission of Kindness charity, Mr. Sears, in the fall of 2013, admitted in federal court to creating explicit images using the cut-out faces of identifiable minors. Eight months before pleading guilty, investigators discovered hundreds of sexual images of identifiable minors in his old apartment in East Moriches and in Dumpsters scattered across Suffolk County.

As part of the deal reached with prosecutors, Mr. Sears admitted before Judge Hurley that he photographed a female minor, cut out her face and pasted it on a pornographic image of an adult woman, so as to make it appear that she was engaging in sexual activity. He was accused of committing similar crimes again last week though, prosecutors said, this time he was using the images of children appearing in magazines.

Mr. Sears was indicted by a grand jury on February 20, 2013, on six felony counts of possession of child pornography—one count for each of the identifiable minors depicted in the images recovered by authorities. Investigators have said that Mr. Sears photographed the girls in public settings, such as at the Quogue Beach Club and at various fundraisers on the East End. He then pasted photographs of his own head onto the images of the male bodies in the pornographic images, making it appear as if he were engaging in sexual acts with children, federal prosecutors have said.

“At the time I committed the offense, I knew that what I was doing was wrong,” Mr. Sears said in 2013. “However, because the visual depiction did not include a photograph of an actual minor’s naked body, I was not then aware that the private possession of such an image constituted a criminal offense.”

Mr. Sears was facing up to 10 years in prison prior to reaching a deal with federal prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to a single count of possessing child pornography, a felony, rather than the six counts originally filed against him. After his sentencing, Mr. Sears was required to register with local authorities as a sex offender under the U.S. Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

At a court proceeding held prior to his sentencing, Mr. Sears apologized to his victims: “I am sincerely remorseful, and accept complete responsibility for having committed this crime,” he said at the time.

As part of his five years of supervised release, Mr. Sears was required to undergo at least one polygraph test for risk management and treatment. He was also required to undergo treatment for “sexual disorders” and was prohibited from associating with any children under the age of 18 without a responsible adult present or without clearing it with a probation officer in advance.

Prior to handing down his reduced sentence in 2013, Judge Hurley made a point of noting the public shaming endured by Mr. Sears in the weeks following his arrest, while also pointing to his poor health. At the time, Mr. Sears was walking with the assistance of a cane and braces on both feet, had several melanomas removed, endured multiple hernia surgeries, and was also diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, characterized by decreased nerve function.

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