Archive for Saturday, March 11, 2006

Therapist pleads not guilty in child porn case

March 11, 2006

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— A respiratory therapist has confessed to molesting "countless" children at the convalescent facility where he worked and selecting the most brain-damaged children to photograph in pornographic poses, a prosecutor told a judge Friday.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Laura Gunn referred to Wayne Bleyle, 54, an employee of the nationally recognized Children's Hospital, as a "prolific trader in child pornography" over the Internet.

Bleyle pleaded not guilty to 24 charges of distributing child pornography and two charges of child molestation. Superior Court Judge David Szumowski set bail at $5 million even though prosecutors asked for only $3 million.

Bleyle worked at the 59-bed convalescent hospital that is part of Children's Hospital. The facility cares for children who are severely mentally and physically impaired, many of them comatose and all of them needing help with even the most basic needs.

Gunn said Bleyle confessed to investigators when he was told he was under investigation. When asked how many children he had physically abused and photographed, Gunn said Bleyle replied, "How many snowflakes are out there?"

He confessed to molesting children and taking photos of them while he was at the convalescent facility, Gunn said. Investigators have identified nine former or current patients as victims.

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