Son of British rock star pleads guilty to child pornography charges

William Harrison, defense attorney
William Harrison, defense attorney

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With just two weeks left until the start of his long-awaited trial, the son of an English rock star appeared at US District Court in Honolulu Tuesday to plead guilty to child pornography charges. Simon Jasper McCarty faces 15 to 30 years in prison when he's sentenced in June.

His father, Jim McCarty, was a drummer for the English rock band the Yardbirds, playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

Simon Jasper McCarty made his own headlines in 2008 after arriving at Hilo Airport, where photos of nude children fell out of his bag while a TSA officer was examining it. A later search uncovered some 400 still images and 200 video clips of child pornography on his laptop and external hard drive.

"All the production did happen outside the US -- the UK and other places," William Harrison, defense attorney, said. "The problem is you can't under US law actually bring or transport those photographs and/or videos into the US and possess them."

The defense earlier moved to suppress the evidence, saying it was the result of an unlawful search and violated the Fourth Amendment. In his court filing, Harrison noted that "airport screenings are considered to be administrative searches...where the essential administrative purpose is to prevent the carrying of weapons and explosives aboard aircraft."

"We believed that the TSA agents didn't have to go through the photographs in order to look for safety concerns in the bag," Harrison said. "They did so."

The legal fight went from US District Court in Honolulu up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and back, before the government prevailed.

The 39-year-old on Tuesday pleaded guilty, admitting that he recorded himself having sex with three children ages 11, 10 and six. Two of the victims are from the UK and one is from Nepal.

"These were all consensual, although at that age you can't consent to it," Harrison said. "There was nothing that was any type of physical type of duress."

Harrison says his client, a musician himself, had a foundation that assisted orphans in other countries.

"He provided concerts and lessons for the orphans and actually gave money to the orphanages as a result of that," he said. "They're alleging that some of the photographs may have come from these trips that he had."

Under a plea deal, prosecutors will not pursue charges relating to other minors that may have appeared in the clips.

An attorney with the US Department of Justice declined comment after the hearing.

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