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July child porn trial for former probation chief
May 08, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

Stuart Forrest

The county’s former chief probation officer pleaded not guilty yesterday to possessing child pornography and will stand trial on the two felonies in mid-July.

Stuart James Forrest, 61, appeared in court Tuesday for the first time since waiving a preliminary hearing last month on the allegations he kept child pornography on his home computers.

Although Forrest reportedly possessed more than 400 illegal images on a USB drive and laptop, the law typically allows a person only to be charged for each incident of possession rather than the total number of photographs or videos. The Feb. 21 complaint filed by the state Attorney General’s Office alleged that Forrest possessed child pornography once on Dec. 20 and another Dec. 21. Those are the days federal agents searched his office at the Youth Services Center in San Mateo and the San Mateo County Superior Court placed him on administrative leave. Forrest reportedly tried killing himself on the steps of a San Mateo church when confronted by sheriff’s deputies and 10 days later retired from the county.

Forrest served as the chief probation officer since 2009. The county installed an interim director after Forrest left and is currently narrowing down contenders for the permanent position.

Forrest remains free on $100,000 bail posted immediately after he surrendered in February.

He returns to court July 2 for a pretrial conference followed by jury trial July 15. Trial is estimated to last five days.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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