PITTSFIELD — Plea negotiations are underway in the case against a local man accused of possessing and disseminating child pornography, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Robert H. Whipple Jr., 55, of Pittsfield, is being held on $1,500 bail on allegations he accessed, viewed and disseminated at least two videos depicting child pornography. He admitted that he “downloaded, viewed and retained the target video,” according to a state police report.
His criminal case originated in Central Berkshire District Court in September, when he pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
The case moved to Berkshire Superior Court last month after a grand jury handed up indictments charging Whipple with possession of child pornography, third offense, possession of child pornography and dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct.
He was arraigned on those charges Wednesday via videoconference from the Franklin County Jail.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Brooks said the third offense possession charge alone carries a recommended sentence of 8 to 10 years, but she noted two of his prior cases were based on the same set of underlying facts.
Regardless, she said, he was facing about a decade in prison on the charge of distributing child pornography.
“The defendant is likely going to be incarcerated for some time," she said during the hearing before Judge Maureen Hogan.
Noting the case is "fairly strong," she said prosecutors are in the process of negotiating a plea.
Whipple is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 16, but the attorneys indicated his case may be resolved via a plea sooner than that.