Bernie Ward is a pedophile and liberal former talk radio host. In December 2007, Ward was fired from his radio show following a federal grand jury indictment charging him with the distribution of child pornography. Ward subsequently admitted to one of the felony charges in a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, and is currently serving a seven-year-plus prison sentence.
Ward joined an online forum dedicated to exchanging child pornography where he both received and sent photos. The police investigation of Ward originated with a complaint from a housewife who was posing online as a dominatrix under the screenname "Sexfairy2005" and who had engaged in online chats with Ward According to the police report, Ward sent pornographic images of children to the chat partner, which caused her to contacted police. The police began collecting evidence with her help and continued chat sessions with Ward. In the chat logs, Ward also describes sexual activity with his own children. Ward and his children both later told investigators that none of the activity described in the chats ever actually took place.
In a statement, Ward's attorney did not dispute engaging in the chats or transmitting the photos but instead claimed Ward was role-playing with the dominatrix in part for research on a book about hypocrisy in America. Federal investigators could find no evidence that Ward was working on such a book. Ward's attorney claimed that federal authorities found no illegal images on his computer, which they seized in early 2005. However, after police obtained a search warrant for Ward's online account, they found about 100 images of child pornography in his AOL email account on AOL's servers which had been opened and forwarded, with sexual activity involving children as young as three years old being subjected to various kinds of abuse including oral sex, vaginal sex, sodomy and sadomasochism. During the investigation, Michael Pritchard, a child advocate and old friend of Ward's, called the FBI and gave them a statement that Ward approached him at the KGO studios and admitted that he had been engaged in exchanging child pornography online for a year. Ward ended the conversation by saying that he didn't want to live anymore and left the studios. Pritchard said he called the FBI out of concern for the safety of Ward's family.