Former Penn professor faces new charges

March 13, 2008 6:29:00 PM PDT
A former University of Pennsylvania professor currently serving a federal child pornography sentence faces new charges for allegedly lying to the U.S. State Department in an attempt to bring a Brazilian teenager into the country. Lawrence Scott Ward, 65, a former professor of marketing at Penn's prestigious Wharton School of Business, was indicted Thursday. Prosecutors also allege that he shipped images of himself engaging in sex acts with a boy who was about 16 years old in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2006.

Ward sought a visa for the boy from the U.S. consulate in Recife, Brazil, invoking his Wharton position and saying the teen was the son of a friend and business acquaintance, according to the indictment. He said the boy's family was well-off, although he knew it was poor, in an effort to dispel fears that he would become an illegal immigrant, prosecutors said.

When the boy, identified only as "J.D.," was denied a visa, authorities allege that Ward told another person in Brazil to create a bank account in the name of the teen's father. Ward said he would provide thousands of dollars for the account, according to the indictment.

"I want to show the consulate that his dad is rich!" Ward said in an e-mail from his university account to the other person, according to prosecutors. He also provided photographs of a house purported to be the boy's family home, they said.

The consulate reversed its decision and granted the teen a visa, but he never entered the country, prosecutors said.

Ward was arrested on Aug. 27, 2006, after returning from Brazil through Washington Dulles International Airport. Customs agents discovered child pornography on Ward's computer and found DVDs containing videos of Ward having sex acts with an underage boy, prosecutors said.

Ward pleaded guilty in February 2007 to charges of importing child porn and was sentenced in May to 15 years in prison. A number left for the attorney who represented him in that case was not immediately returned Thursday.

Ward, who is retired, had been scheduled to teach in the fall of 2006 before university officials relieved him of his duties after the arrest. Penn spokesman Ron Ozio said the school would have no comment on the new charges.