Former Alaska mayor pleads guilty to child porn charges

Reuters News

4/30/2012 10:58:46 PM - Reuters News

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - A former Alaska mayor who served on a school board and once received a "Citizen of the Year" award pleaded guilty on Monday to seven counts of possessing child pornography as part of a deal with prosecutors, police said.

Jack Shay, 80, a well-known political figure in the small southeast Alaskan community of Ketchikan, was arrested in November after police said child pornography images were found on a computer printer that he had dropped off for repair.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss scores of other child-pornography charges filed against Shay as part of the deal, which will likely see him spend the rest of his life in prison, said Lieutenant Joe White of the Ketchikan Police Department.

Shay, who pleaded guilty at a hearing in state Superior Court in Ketchikan, has agreed to be sentenced to 35 years in prison, with 18 of those years suspended, White said.

A former mayor of Ketchikan as well as the larger Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Shay had been scheduled to go on trial on 91 child-pornography counts in a week, according to court records. Two of those charges stemmed from a homemade video that included an image of Shay and an unidentified girl, while the rest concerned printed materials found in the home, police said.

Shay is a past president of the Alaska Municipal League, a former school board member and the 2002 recipient of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce's "Citizen of the Year" award.

After his arrest, he resigned his seat on the Ketchikan City Council, his most recent local-government position.

"Overall, I think there's a lot of shock to begin with, shock and dismay," White said. "He's been a pillar of the community for years, involved in local politics and community theater. Just everywhere you go, there was Jack Shay."

State Superior Court Judge William Carey set an August 3 sentencing date for Shay, White said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Paul Simao)