Do the crime, don’t do the time

BRYAN, Ohio — A man who hacked into the computer system of a weekly newspaper office — destroying so much information that the company did not publish for weeks — was sentenced to probation in that case and on a child nudity count.

Chad Buckner, 30, was found guilty in a Williams County Common Pleas Court trial on Oct. 5 of two counts of unauthorized use of a computer, tampering with records, and vandalism.

Those counts were all in relation to damage to the Advance Reporter.

Prosecutors said in indictments that late in 2005, Buckner deleted the newspapers’ hard-drive information on networked computers, operating systems, and information on the main server and backup system.

Then in July, while authorities were examining Buckner’s computer because of those indictments, they found nude images of a minor on his machine. He was indicted on Sept. 19 on three counts of illegal use of a minor.

On Wednesday, Buckner appeared in court for sentencing on the original charges and a suppression hearing on the nudity charges. But in an agreement, he pleaded guilty to one of the three nudity counts and prosecutors dropped the other two.

So, Buckner was sentenced by retired visiting Judge Anthony Gretick on both cases to a total of three years community control. The judge reserved one-year prison time if Buckner would violate his probation.

Forrest Church, publisher of the papers, said he was upset that Buckner was not ordered to pay restitution to the newspaper, which he said suffered losses of more than $200,000.

The publisher said he hoped court-ordered restitution from Buckner would help the newspapers get re-established financially.

And he said he thought Buckner should have been sentenced to prison for the pornography.

“That sentence is beyond ridiculous,” he said. “There’s been no justice served.”

Gretick, who could have sentenced Buckner to up to 6 1/2 years in prison, said the crimes were low-level felonies and that the newspaper publisher’s estimate of damages could not be substantiated. The court found the damages to be significantly less, the judge said.