Former U.N. weapons inspector and Delmar resident Scott Ritter was found guilty yesterday of exposing himself to someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl over the Internet.
Ritter was convicted by a Pennsylvania jury on six of the seven charges brought against him after about eight hours of deliberation.
The charges include unlawful contact with a minor. He was acquitted on a charge of criminal attempt. Sentencing will be in May, and Ritter could face up to five years each for his two misdemeanor convictions and seven years each for his four felony convictions, though it's unlikely the judge will dole out that full sentence.
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Michael Rykechevski said he argued a case based on the evidence at hand.
I think that [the jury] looked at the evidence and made a decision based on the evidence, he said.
"The evidence really was the video and the chat log," Rykechevski added.
Ritter, 49, was arrested by the Barrett Township Police Department in February of 2009. An officer running an Internet sex sting operation pretended to be a 15-year-old girl named Emily and Ritter, under the screename "delmarm4fun," exposed himself via web camera and masturbated.
The jury viewed that tape during the trial.
Ritter's attorney, Gary Kohlman, argued in court his client believed the exchange to be a manner of fantasy and at no time did he believe the person he was chatting with was actually 15.
That was an unbelievable defense, Rykechevski said, given the fact Ritter deactivate the camera when the issue of age came up, but later turned it back on to complete the act.
"I think its clear that he consciously disregarded a risk that this was a minor," he said. "If he would have stopped right there...I would have had a lot more difficult time prosecuting it."