Child porn cases stuck in "waiting game" - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Child porn cases stuck in "waiting game"

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PITTSTOWN, NY. – Nearly four months after a Pittstown man was arrested and charged with felony possession of child porn he still hasn't been to trial.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally says he is waiting for "forensic evidence" to be analyzed and that takes time. In John Kelly's case, he says, it could take six months to one year.  

On February 8, 2012 Kelly appeared in Pittstown Town Court. He pled not guilty to possession of obscene performance a child.

NEWS10's Christine O'Donnell asked DA McNally if he knows where Kelly is.

"He's no longer incarcerated. He's out on bail, but he does face some serious consequences as a result of possessing child porn," McNally said.

"Right now, Where is he? Do you know?" O'Donnell asked.

"Physically at this moment, no," McNally said.

McNally says forensic analysts with the FBI are currently looking through the 100 hard drives full of images that were taken from Kelly's home.

"Technology's a wonderful thing, but it's high maintenance evidence," McNally said.

So where's Kelly? What's he doing during his "free year?" NEWS10 went to his home to find out.

A woman who wouldn't identify herself answered the door and shut it quickly when she saw the news team. After a few minutes she came out.

"Whatever goes on with him is none of my business," the woman said.

"Were you in a relationship with him?" O'Donnell asked.

"Yes and no," the woman replied.

When asked if she was concerned with the charges Kelly is facing the woman said they did not matter because Kelly did not live there. She said Kelly was just "visiting" before. 

"He was visiting, plain and simple," she said.

On the same day, investigators said Kelly still lived at that residence.

Sargeant with the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office Shane Holcomb says Kelly is currently not being monitored.

"It's an unfortunate reality that he does have a right to bail, the purpose of bail is to insure his reappearance in court," Holcomb said.

Holcomb's team worked in conjunction with the FBI to arrest Kelly in January. He says the waiting game is "frustrating," especially after all the time and effort investigators put in to arrest Kelly.

"It's not uncommon for court cases to take that long in the court system," Holcomb said. "It is frustrating because everyday he's out he has the opportunity to continue furthering his criminal activity," Holcomb said.

District Attorney Rich McNally says eventually Kelly will "see his day in court."

A Federal Law Enforcement source says the reason forensic analysis takes so long is because there's not enough money for forensic resources, including funds to hire forensic examiners. NEWS10 reached out to Congressional Leaders to see if there's anything that can be don and heard back from US Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Paul Tonko and Congressman Chris Gibson. Below are their statements.

"Trials like these shouldn't be held up in red tape, and the evidence needs to be processed as quickly as possible. When Congress takes up legislation to fund the FBI, we should take a hard look at ways to speed things along." - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer

"Throughout recent past budget negotiations there has been a concern expressed by many of us about the impacts on the implementation of critical programs. Negative outcomes like this, that put our children and families at risk, should severe as a reminder of what our priorities need to be."- Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-21)

"Overall, I would say ensuring the federal government has the resources to prosecute criminals in a timely manner will continue to be a focus of the Congressman and the House Judiciary and Appropriations Committees as we consider funding for FY 2013 (begins Oct).  In addition to funding levels, that initiative also includes making sure resources are prioritized appropriately and used efficiently." – Congressman Chris Gibson

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