BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former CEPA art gallery director accused of possessing child pornography has pleaded guilty to one count of obscenity.
It’s a case that drew worldwide attention and Buffalo artist, Lawrence Brose, has spent several years trying to prove he never downloaded child pornography.
Attorney William Altreuter is the legal consultant for the Lawrence Brose Legal Defense Fund. He told News 4, “His work does not involve images of child pornography, has never involved images of child pornography, has been displayed all over the world.”
Brose was arrested in 2009 and accused of possessing hundreds of child pornography images on his laptop.
Michael DiGiacomo is the chief of the general crimes section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo. He said, “This stems back to 2006 when the federal agency of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was contacted by a law enforcement agency in Germany and as a result, that’s what started the investigation.”
However, court documents show that agents could only prove there was one image of a minor engaging in sexual explicit conduct on the laptop.
Brose accepted a plea deal Wednesday to an obscenity charge that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison. His lawyer argued his client’s laptop was in an open studio and any images that Brose viewed were used for research.
DiGiacomo said, “”His claim is that he is an art person and that is what he does but the law doesn’t differentiate, the images were the images and they speak for themselves and under the law they would be viewed and deemed to be obscene.”
Brose is known for his movies that explore male sexuality and contain sexually explicit material and his supporters believe that made him vulnerable.
Altreuter said, “I wouldn’t be surprised at all to discover that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which has gone after other artists in the past, is not really the ideal audience or likely to understand the kind of work that Lawrence was doing.”
Though Brose could face six to 12 months in jail when he is sentenced in August, his lawyers plan on asking for a much lighter sentence.
He stepped down from the CEPA gallery in 2010, after he was charged with possessing child pornography.