Friday September 28, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The former headmaster of a private school in the Berkshires pleaded guilty on Thursday to 20 child pornography charges and was sentenced to six months in jail.

David B. Harris, 68, of North Adams, will also have to register as a sex offender and be on probation after jail. He was headmaster of Pine Cobble School in Williamstown from 1989 to 1999, a decade before his arrest on a slew of child porn charges in July 2010.

While his charges did not overlap his tenure at the North County school, they did overlap his time as head of school at the Cambridge Montessori School in Cambridge, N.Y. Both are private schools for children from preschool to ninth grade.

On Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court, Harris told the court that he hasn't worked since resigning in 2010 from his job in Cambridge. He was suspended at first and then quit a few days after his arrest.

Massachusetts State Police descended on Harris' North Adams home on July 18, 2010, arrested him and confiscated several computers and electronic storage devices containing child porn after a two-month investigation that began with a tip from New York law enforcement officials. Police said Harris disseminated the child porn on Jan. 24, 2010, and was in possession of child porn at the time of his arrest.

In court, Harris pleaded guilty to 18 counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child in sexual conduct and single counts of possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.


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Judge John A. Agostini ordered Harris to serve six months of a 21 2-year sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. The rest of the sentence was suspended for two years during which time Harris will be on probation.

Under the probation agreement, Harris must undergo counseling, turn in all computers and media storage devices, have no computers or phones that can access the Internet, not possess any pornography, and allow probation officers to search his computers.

Harris told the court he has been undergoing treatment related to his charges.

The plea came under a joint recommendation by the Berk shire District Attorney's Office and Harris' attorney.

According to Second Assis tant Berkshire District Attor ney Robert W. Kinzer III, Harris will also have to register as a sex offender.

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the Berkshire Dis trict Attorney's Office, with assistance from the Massa chusetts and New York Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, State Police detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, and investigators assigned to the New York State Attorney General's Office.