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MAHONING COUNTY Judge OKs the return of man's cameras



Published: Thu, April 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



His weapons weren't included on the list to be returned.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Camera and computer equipment will be returned to the family of a Struthers man imprisoned for indulging in child pornography.

Struthers police had taken the items from the home of Lawrence Plante of Brandon Avenue, who was sentenced last year to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of burglary, pandering obscenity involving a minor and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

After Plante's sentencing, defense lawyer John F. Shultz filed a motion asking that Judge Jack Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court order police to release the seized items. The judge approved that request this week, though not everything taken was returned.

What was taken: An inventory of items to be given to Plante's sister and brother included several cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment, video cameras, computers and computer equipment.

Authorities found more than 20,000 explicit child pornography photos on Plante's computer hard drive. At his sentencing last August, Plante said he was addicted to Internet pornography.

Police and prosecutors said Plante also developed a fixation on his neighbor's teen-age daughter. He followed the girl around, often taking pictures of her without her knowledge. Some of them were posted on a computer Web site.

Plante broke into the neighbors' home while they were away and took pictures of himself wearing the girl's clothes and underwear.

During the search of his home, police also found about 40 weapons, including an illegal machine gun with a silencer. Shultz asked that those also be returned, but they were not included on the list.

The judge's written entry does not explain why the weapons were not returned.

Plante served an 18-month federal prison sentence for possession of an unregistered machine gun.

bjackson@vindy.com




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