BANGOR, Maine — Well-known disc jockey and former Maine Sports Hall of Fame member Dana Wilson was found guilty on Tuesday of possession of child pornography .
Wilson, 63, of Brewer shook his head and said “no” as Superior Court Justice Ann Murray announced her verdict at the Penobscot Judicial Center. She presided at a jury-waived trial June 2 and 6.
Wilson’s sentencing is set for July 23.
Murray also increased Wilson’s bail from $1,000 unsecured to $500 cash or $5,000 surety. The judge left in place a condition that prohibits Wilson from having unsupervised contact with minors under the age of 16.
Wilson posted $500 cash at the courthouse and was not taken to the Penobscot County Jail, according to his attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor.
Tzovarras described his client as “disappointed and distraught” after the verdict. He said the verdict would be appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Portland.
“He has maintained that he is not guilty and is innocent,” Tzovarras said at an impromptu news conference outside the courthouse after the verdict was read. “He’s ready to move forward and is optimistic about the appeal.”
Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said he was glad there had been a verdict in the case. Wilson was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury two years ago.
“I’m very pleased we’ve finally reached this point,” Roberts said outside the courthouse. “Obviously, we have a little bit more of a delay until we get to sentencing. I anticipate Mr. Wilson will make an appeal after sentencing, so, I don’t think we’re done yet, but we are moving further along in the process.”
The case that led to the charges against Wilson began when Brewer police Sgt. Jay Munson went to Wilson’s home on Feb. 14, 2011, after learning from the group Internet Crimes Against Children that someone with an IP address at the home where Wilson lived had received a video known to portray child pornography, according to testimony.
Wilson’s computers were seized, and child pornography was found on both of them, the judge concluded.
During closing arguments, Roberts said Wilson told police on two occasions that he had seen the child pornography and that “He’s the only person in this case that admits to seeing these files.”
Tzovarras said the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wilson was the one who downloaded the pornographic images. He threw blame on Wilson’s adult son, who lived with the DJ at the time the images were downloaded.
“The real question here is not if there was child pornography, but if Dana Wilson was in possession,” Tzovarras said. “There wasn’t any evidence that he used the computer [when the images were downloaded].”
Wilson’s case has taken a number of twists and turns since he was charged.
In March, the trial was rescheduled to June to allow a computer expert hired by the defense to examine Wilson’s computer, according to a previously published report.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson in January allowed Wilson to withdraw his no contest plea and go to trial.
Tzovarras told the judge on Jan. 3, when a hearing to withdraw the plea was held, that Wilson wanted to go to trial “because he is innocent of the offense and believes he did not fully understand the state’s burden [of proof], potential issues for defense and consequences of a no-contest plea.”
Tzovarras said at the hearing that there was nothing in the police report to indicate Wilson sought out the material, and he never confessed to the police. He also said that to Murray in his opening statement.
Wilson pleaded no contest on May 23, 2013, before District Court Judge Greg Campbell to the Class C crime as his jury-waived trial was about to begin.
On Aug. 19, the day before he was to be sentenced, Wilson fired his previous attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor. Silverstein said Wilson sent him an email dismissing him without mentioning a reason.
Tzovarras was appointed to represent Wilson after he said his income had fallen so dramatically as a result of the charge that he needed to go on Social Security early. Wilson’s income and the fact that the prosecutor is seeking a jail sentence allowed him to qualify for a court-appointed attorney.
Wilson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012 for his basketball feats at Bangor’s Husson College, now Husson University, where he graduated in 1974. That honor was revoked May 29, 2013, by the hall’s board of directors, according to a previously published report.
Wilson, who has no prior criminal record, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the charge. He will be required to register for life as a sex offender.
Roberts said last year that he would recommend the judge sentence Wilson to between 2 ½ and three years in prison with all but between six and nine months suspended. Roberts also said then he would urge the judge to impose two years of probation.
On Tuesday, the prosecuter said that he would consider seeking a stiffer sentence after Wilson implicated his son as the person who might have downloaded child pornography on his computers.
Tzovarras said he would recommend that Murray “sentence Wilson to probation or little or no jail time.”
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.