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Couple denies child porn charges

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Billy Lockhart. Photo: Courtesy SFPD
Billy Lockhart. Photo: Courtesy SFPD  

A San Francisco couple has pleaded not guilty to felony charges that they possessed child pornography.

Billy Lockhart, 36, a UCSF psychiatrist, and Benjamin Martin, 33, entered their pleas May 15 and May 17, respectively, about a week after they were arrested at their home in the 100 block of Buena Vista Terrace, court records say. The men, who are out of custody, are in a relationship, according to their disabled Facebook profiles.

The men didn't respond to Facebook messages, and their attorneys couldn't be reached for comment. A UCSF statement said that the university "has placed Dr. Lockhart on investigatory leave from the Department of Psychiatry's residency training program, suspending all clinical activity and access to all UCSF information systems."

In addition to the possession charge, Lockhart also pleaded not guilty to a count of distributing child pornography. Both men had faced allegations that they'd possessed more than 600 images of child pornography, but those accusations were dismissed, court records say.

A judge denied Assistant District Attorney Lili Nguyen's motion to increase Lockhart's bail, but he was ordered to stay off the internet and "not to interact with children, and to stay away from [the] UCSF campus," records say.

In March, police said, the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit began investigating someone "who was uploading and trading child pornography on the internet" and eventually identified Lockhart as the suspect.

Benjamin Martin. Photo: Courtesy SFPD

May 9, police served a search warrant at the couple's home and found "numerous media devices belonging to Lockhart, which all contained hundreds of child pornography videos and images," police said in a news release. They also gathered evidence that he was viewing child pornography.

Additionally, investigators found "hundreds of child pornography files on media devices belonging to Martin," police said.

Police are asking anyone who feels they may have been a victim of Lockhart or Martin or who had "suspicious contact" with them to contact the Special Victims Unit at (415) 558-5500.

Contact the author at s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com .

 

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