Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Israeli, int'l police crack down on child pornography

Israeli, int'l police crack down on child pornography
By The Associated Press - November, 28 2001

LONDON - Israeli police joined forces from 18 other nations today in an international crackdown on child pornography.
Police arrested seven people in a series of raids across Britain this morning as part of the international operation.
Police in 19 countries carried out 130 arrest and search warrants as part of the operation, code-named Landmark, the National Crime Service said. The operation targeted people who downloaded and distributed child pornography from the Internet.
British police made the raids after a 10-month operation in which they sifted through data from Internet newsgroups specializing in explicit images of children.
Nine forces in England and Scotland carried out 10 raids, arresting seven and seizing computers and software.
Police in 18 other countries - Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States - also executed search and arrest warrants, acting on information supplied by Interpol.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Case of Judge Ronald C. Kline

Case of Judge Ronald C. Kline
(AKA: Ronald Kline)
Superior Court Judge - Irvine, CA
Turtle Rock, CA

Convicted of possessing child pornography and having a relationship with a teenage boy from 1976 to 1978.

Table of Contents:

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves whether the resources meet their own personal needs.


  1. Tip Led to Inquiry of Judge (11/13/2001) 
  2. Judge facing pornography charges (11/15/2001) 


  1. Judge ordered to stand trial in sex case (07/20/2002) 
  2. High-profile case due in court this summer (05/23/2002) 
  3. Prosecutors add detail to Kline molestation case (04/20/2002) 
  4. Kline may face more charges (04/11/2002) 
  5. Judge Kline pleads not guilty to molestation charges (03/21/2002) 
  6. Judge charged with molesting boy 25 years ago  (01/17/2002)


  1. Ex-judge collapses at sentencing  (02/21/2007)


Tip Led to Inquiry of Judge 
By Jack Leonard and Monte Morin
Los Angeles Times - November 13, 2001

An anonymous e-mail sent in March to a sex-watchdog Web site prompted authorities to investigate an Orange County Superior Court judge who was charged last week with possessing child pornography, police said Monday.
The e-mail, which accused Judge Ronald C. Kline of keeping illegal photos on his home computer, was sent in late March to, a Colorado-based site that tracked online sex offenders, according to Irvine police and the operator of the Web site. The site, a one-woman operation that began in 1996, has shut down in the financial fallout of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The tipster also e-mailed excerpts from a diary allegedly written by Kline that detailed a strong interest in young boys, authorities said. The tip did not identify Kline as a judge but mentioned that he lived in Irvine, according to the woman who ran the Web site, Julie Posey.
Concerned, Posey said she made inquiries to see if the correspondence was a hoax. After discovering that Kline did, indeed, live in Irvine, Posey said she forwarded the e-mail to state and local investigators in July.
Soon afterward, Irvine detectives told her that the accusations involved a civil court judge.
"I thought, 'You're kidding me,' " Posey said. "I couldn't believe it. You'd think that a guy with that kind of career would know better."
The tipster's identity remains a mystery to Posey. Despite sending diary excerpts allegedly written by the judge, the e-mail's author claimed not to know Kline, she said.
Irvine police said they know who wrote the e-mail but declined to elaborate.
The e-mail's content was crucial to their case against Kline, said Police Lt. Sam Allevato. Once they read the e-mail, police spent months in an effort to confirm the correspondence, operating alongside a task force of federal and district attorney's investigators, he said.
Detectives worked with great care to build their case, he said.
"You're dealing with a very high-profile suspect here, and you want to make sure the information is accurate and that we proceeded lawfully," Allevato said.
Based in part on the e-mail, detectives executed a search warrant on Kline's home Nov. 5. Police discovered a diary in which Kline allegedly wrote about his sexual attraction to teenage boys and how he would often visit malls, Little League games and the shower area of an athletic club.
Investigators also uncovered computer diskettes containing five downloaded images of young boys engaging in sex acts, according to court records.
Federal prosecutors on Friday filed one count of possessing child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal judge ordered Kline detained at home pending the outcome of the case.
Reached at his home Monday, Kline declined to discuss the case, referring calls to his attorneys, who could not be reached for comment. Kline is running unopposed for reelection to the bench next spring.
Pedowatch has been credited by police for helping detectives nationwide make 22 arrests, Posey said. In most cases, Posey said, she posed as a teenage girl in sting operations.

Judge faceing pornography charges - Computer disks seized from Turtle Rock home
By Eric Johnson
Irvine World News - November 15, 2001

An Orange County Superior Court judge from Irvine was arrested by federal marshals Friday for possessing child pornography.

Judge Ronald C. Kline, a resident of Turtle Rock, surrendered himself to authorities at the Santa Ana courthouse after investigators found a disk at Kline's home with digital images of minors engaged in sex.

Kline, 61, allegedly admitted to having "an interest in minor-age boys," according to an affidavit filed by Customs Agent Harry Pettibone.

Kline is due back in court Nov. 29 for a preliminary hearing, though the U.S. Attorney's office may seek an indictment before then. He is due to be arraigned Dec. 3.

Kline's attorney, Paul Meyer, said his client will plead not guilty.

According to court records, Kline allegedly admitted that he views images using his home computers to access the Internet and that some of the images have been "illegal."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot said more charges may be filed as detectives continue analyzing 116 computer diskettes seized Monday from Kline's home.

Federal Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato also placed Kline under house detention with electronic surveillance pending his next court appearance, except for routine trips and visits with his lawyer or for medical or mental health appointments.

Kline was ordered to stay away from children as well as schools, parks, playgrounds, arcades and other places where children might be present.

In his affidavit, Pettibone said a diary Kline kept contained references to body parts of minor-age boys: "It appears from the diary that the author watches and observes these minor-age boys at such places as shopping malls, little league baseball games, and the shower area of a local athletic club. In addition, the diary recounts the author's efforts to make contact with these minor-age boys."

Kline also admitted to Irvine Det. Ronald Carr that 40 years ago, when he was 21, he had sexual contact with a male who was 14 or 15 years old.

Detectives seized Kline's work and home computers and 116 diskettes after a four-month investigation that began with a tip from the state Attorney General's Office.

U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said federal, state and local investigators use tips and undercover operations to unmask those who collect and traffic child pornography.

"We have officers pose as young people on the Internet and sometimes people will try to meet up with them," he said. "Often times, we'll find child pornography on their computers."
They also look for suspicious people at the borders.

"A lot of it is generated offshore," he said.
Authorities contend that at least three of the images were copyrighted in Denmark and downloaded off the Internet to the diskettes found in Kline's home.

Pettibone said in court documents that computers and the Internet have made it exponentially easier for child pornography collectors to gather materials and interact with and sexually exploit children.

"Previously, child pornography collectors had to rely on personal contact, U.S. mail, and telephonic communications in order to sell, trade or market pornography," he said.
"The computer and the Internet changed that."

Police Chief Michael Berkow said there was no evidence that Kline was involved in any molestation.

First-time offenders can be fined or imprisoned up to five years. Kline could also be sanctioned or removed from the bench.


Judge charged with molesting boy 25 years ago
By Eric Johnson
Irvine World News - January 15, 2002

A Superior Court judge already accused of possessing child pornography was arrested last week for allegedly molesting a neighborhood boy 25 years ago.

Because of a recent change in state law, police were able to charge Turtle Rock resident Ronald C. Kline, 61, with four felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under the age of 14.

The new law exempts sex crimes from the normal statute of limitations, meaning victims of molestation can come forward at any time.

In this case, police allege that from 1976 to 1978 Kline had an improper relationship with a boy he befriended (in another area of Irvine that police are not disclosing).

The boy, now 37, filed a complaint with Irvine Police Jan. 5. His identity is being kept confidential.

Although the molestation charges only cover a two-year period ending in October 1978, Kline maintained a relationship with the boy for longer, according to police.

Kline surrendered himself to officers the morning of Jan. 10. He did not wear handcuffs.

The judge was already on house arrest, with a monitoring device, under federal charges that he had more than 100 computer images of young boys engaged in sex acts. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

In 1995, the alleged victim told his parents and then-fiancée that Kline had molested him, police said. He didn't want to go to police, though.

But he came forward in November after reading about the federal charges against Kline, who has handled civil cases since being appointed to the county bench in 1995.

In the child-pornography case, a computer hacker outside California tipped off authorities about Kline, sparking a four-month investigation.

Three conditions must be met for investigators to invoke the law that allows sex crime victims to come forward at any time.

First, the accusations have to be strongly corroborated - with such items as photos or documents.

Second, the alleged crimes have to be serious - improper touching, for example, isn't strong enough, lawyers said.

Third, the charges have to be filed within one year after the accusations are made.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckus said the new law is a significant tool.

"This is an example of what we can do with an extended statute of limitations," he said. "I don't think child molesters should feel safe with the amount of time that has gone by."

Rackauckus, who knew Kline from his time as a county judge, called Kline's arrest "unfortunate."

"It was somebody I felt I knew and had a friendship with," he said.

Paul S. Meyer, Kline's attorney, said his client is innocent.

"The historical charges filed against Judge Kline are from 26 years ago and involve one complaining person," Meyer said. "There are no allegations of any criminal conduct within the last 26 years."

The parents of the victim gave police a letter Kline sent to their son in 1982. In it, Kline allegedly requested that the boy, then 18, join him on a camping trip - that he and the boy "had been through so much over the years."

"I care about you," the letter read.

A diary Kline kept since 1998 alluded to his sexual attraction to young boys and had a reference to the victim.

The complaint also said that the victim's parents filed a report with Irvine Police in 1980, claiming that Kline was stalking their son and routinely driving through their neighborhood. On one occasion, they even spoke to Kline and confirmed that he knew their son.

The boy did not admit to being molested at the time and Irvine Police no longer have the 1980 police report. They typically only keep files on murder and rape cases past 1989, officials said.

Some of Kline's neighbors refused to talk about the second arrest last week.

If convicted of molestation, Kline could face up to 32 years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender.

He is due in court Jan. 22 on the federal pornography charges and Feb. 6 in the county molestation case.

Both cases will be handled in Los Angeles County courts to avoid a conflict of interest.

Before the latest arrest, 20 Superior Court judges signed a petition supporting Kline in his bid for re-election.

Meanwhile, a queue of candidates are stepping up to contest Kline's judgeship on the March ballot.

Gay Sandoval, a Costa Mesa attorney and longtime children's advocate, headed the charge to get on the ballot as a write-in candidate. Costa Mesa Councilwoman Karen Robinson will also be on the ballot.

Six others, including Irvine resident Harris E. Kershnar, requested paperwork to become write-in candidates and could also join the race. Would-be candidates have until Feb. 12 to qualify as write-ins.

Register staff writers Greg Hardesty and Martin Wisckol contributed to this report.


Judge ordered to stand trial in sex case
Court - Los Angeles jurist finds probable cause that Kline committed illegal acts against boy.

By Greg Hardesty
Orange County Register - July 20, 2002

A judge ruled Friday that there is probable cause to believe that Judge Ronald Kline seduced and molested a 14-year-old boy after Kline met the minor in an Irvine neighborhood in 1979.

That means there is sufficient evidence for Kline, 61, to stand trial on five state charges of child molestation -- felonies that could put him behind bars for 14 years.

Kline, appearing with his three attorneys at a preliminary hearing before Los Angeles Judge Daniel Solis Pratt, also faces . . .


High-profile cases due in court this summer
Irvine World News - May 23, 2002

A number of high-profile cases involving Irvine suspects or victims are due to go to trial this summer.

Here's an update:

*Noel Plata and Ronald Tri Tran, accused of the grisly 1994 murder of Irvine resident Linda Park, are due in court May 31 in Santa Ana.

Defense attorneys will file a motion challenging evidence the prosecution brought forward in a November preliminary hearing.

Deputy District Attorney James Laird said the motion is routine.

No date has been set for a jury trial.

Plata and Tran are alleged to have tortured Park before slicing her throat after robbing her parents' home in Deerfield. Irvine Police arrested the pair in February 2001.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for both men, who allegedly have ties to a Vietnamese street gang.

*Brian Dance, a UC Irvine student accused of raping and torturing a high school student in December, is due back in court June 21 for a pre-trial hearing. The trial is set to start July 8 in Santa Ana.

Dance is accused of seven counts, including torture, terroristic threats and stealing more than $50 from the victim, as well as forced oral copulation and three counts of rape with a foreign object.

Dance, of Newport Beach, faces up to 94 years in prison if convicted of all counts against him. Police believe that in an Internet chat room, Dance set up a meeting with a 15-year-old girl at the Block of Orange before driving her to UCI, taping her hands with duct tape, carving a swastika in her face, torturing her for more than two hours, and raping her.

*Embattled Superior Court judge and Turtle Rock resident Ronald C. Kline will go before a Norwalk Superior Court judge June 4 to see whether sufficient corroborating evidence exists for Kline to face trial on charges that he molested a neighborhood boy 23 years ago.

Kline pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge, who police say has admitted to them his sexual attraction to young boys, has been under house arrest since November on separate federal charges of possession of child pornography.

The crimes of which Kline is accused occurred during four months in 1979, when he was a 38-year-old civil attorney and his accuser was 14, according to the complaint.

There is no statute of limitations on serious sex crimes against minors, if enough corroborating evidence exists.

Among the evidence detailed Friday was a letter Kline is alleged to have written to the boy, referred to as "John Doe."

In the letter, Kline refers to "swimming after midnight" and going in hot tubs with John Doe, scenarios he independently described to police.

Kline first met the boy at night at a community pool in Irvine while Kline was swimming nude, according to the amended complaint.

The oral-copulation crimes of which Kline is accused took place in the community hot tub and in Kline's home, according to the complaint.

Before one of the sex acts alleged in the complaint, Kline purchased alcohol and provided it to the minor, prosecutors charge.

Kline also wrote a get-well card to John Doe when the boy was 15, according to the complaint. The card made a humorous reference about how whiskey can make a person feel better.

"Hope you weren't hurt too bad," Kline is alleged to have written. "Come see me when you can. Ron."


Prosecutors add detail to Kline molestation case
Courts: State is trying to meet its burden of corroborating evidence that youth was abused by then-civil lawyer.
by Greg Hardesty 
Orange County Register - April 20, 2002

Prosecutors expanded on their state molestation case against Judge Ronald C. Kline on Friday, detailing their allegations of sexual abuse of a boy 23 years ago.

Although the prosecutors didn't add any charges to the five-felony complaint against Kline, they amended it to provide examples of what they believe is corroborating evidence.


Kline may face more charges
Courts: Judge downloaded images of naked boys to his work computer as well as at home, prosecutors allege.
By John McDonald 
Orange County Register - April 11, 2002 

Judge Ronald Kline used his courthouse computer to visit a pedophile Web site and download more than a dozen images of naked boys, federal prosecutors allege in court papers.

The filing in federal court Monday also contended that Kline's home computer contained as many as 1,500 erotic images of young boys. The Orange County Superior Court judge already has been charged with having more than 100 images of child pornography on his home computer.


Voters determined to oust Judge Kline
By Eric Johnson
Irvine World News - March 3, 2002

A campaign by 11 write-in candidates to oust a Superior Court judge accused of molesting a boy and possessing child pornography passed its first hurdle Tuesday.

The candidates, none of whose names appeared on the ballot, were able to garner two-thirds of all votes cast in the race for Ronald C. Kline's judgeship.

That means Kline, 61, faces a November runoff with the top vote-getter among the write-in candidates. He needed at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

How each write-in candidate fared won't be known for days, if not weeks.

Kline, a Turtle Rock resident, was arrested in January for allegedly molesting a neighborhood boy 25 years ago.

The judge was already on house arrest, with a monitoring device, under federal charges that he had more than 100 computer images of young boys engaged in sex acts. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

"I'm just so happy that Orange County voters really listened to the message," said the mother of a 13-year-old boy who Kline allegedly tried to woo. "If all the voters just go out and do the same thing again, he won't get reelected in the fall."

Kline has been restricted to his Irvine home since Nov. 9 after surrendering to authorities.
In addition to images of boys in sex acts found on his home computer and on his computer at the Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, authorities found an electronic diary, they said, that describes lust for young boys.

In February, Kline was hit with charges that he molested a boy about 25 years ago when he was a prominent civil attorney.

Kline is scheduled to enter a plea to the molestation charges this month.

He is still drawing his $136,244 annual salary, but has been restricted from the bench.

The judge voted Tuesday morning at Bonita Canyon Elementary School. He wore a sweater, jeans and sneakers, and, as ordered by his house arrest, an electronic monitoring device around his ankle. He declined to comment.

Write-in campaigns historically have failed. And in Orange County, there has never been a write-in battle to oust an incumbent judge.

Harris Kershnar, one of the write-in candidates and a Woodbridge resident, thanked the voters for their historic decision.

"It shows the electorate was underestimated," he said. "I'm proud that we proved the pundits wrong."

Kershnar said he believes the media's scrutiny of Kline's arrest, and its coverage of the write-in campaign, was pivotal.

"I believe it was the media coverage that let the voters know how the process works," he said, calling the write-in process "unfamiliar and cumbersome."

"The numbers showed people wanted to make a choice," he said.

Kershnar said he'll back whichever of the candidates faces Kline in November. But he hopes it's him.

"The united goal was to get to this point," he said. "If we didn't reach this threshold, all was lost for everyone. I have every confidence that whoever (runs against Kline) will win."

Register staff writers Greg Hardesty and Aldrin Brown contributed to this report


Judge Kline pleads not guilty to molestation charges
By Eric Johnson and Greg Hardesty
Irvine World News - March 21, 2002

Turtle Rock resident and embattled jurist Ronald C. Kline pleaded not guilty in a Norwalk courtroom Tuesday to five counts of oral copulation with a minor.

The charges Kline, a Superior Court judge accused of molesting a neighborhood boy more than 20 years ago, faces are much less severe than those he was arrested for in January.
In initial interviews with police in January, the alleged victim, now 37, said Kline molested him when he was as young as 12. In follow-up interviews, the man said the alleged crimes occurred between June and October 1979, when he was 14.

Penalties are much harsher for molestation victims under 14 years.

Kline, who at the time of the alleged sex crimes was a top lawyer for an insurance defense practice, now faces a maximum of 5 years and 8 months if convicted - compared with about 14 years under the former charges.

"The allegation is untrue," Kline's attorney, Paul S. Meyer, said in a prepared statement. "The case is based on a very late complaint raised (23) years after events supposedly occurred.

"Because Judge Kline is not guilty of these state charges, he will focus his attention on the defense of this matter."
Last week, Meyer asked a judge to allow Kline to drop out of the race to keep his seat on the bench.

Kline faces a run-off in November, probably against Laguna Hills attorney John Adams, after 11 write-in candidates prevented him on March 5 from getting the necessary 50 percent plus one vote needed to retain his judgeship.

Meyer argued that continued scrutiny over the judicial race would unfairly affect Kline's court cases.

A Los Angeles judge will consider Kline's request at an April 2 hearing.

Kline also faces federal charges of possessing child pornography. Dozens of digital images of nude boys were found on his home and office computer by authorities. A trial on the pornography charges is set for June.

Kline is suspended from the bench, and confined to house arrest with a monitoring device, but still draws his $136,244 salary.


Ex-judge collapses at sentencing
Ronald C. Kline of Irvine falls into the arms of his attorney after learning of his 27-month prison term for possessing child porn.
Los Angeles Times - February 21, 2007

A former Orange County judge collapsed in a Los Angeles federal courtroom Tuesday moments after being sentenced to 27 months in prison for possessing child pornography, bringing a dramatic end to a case that tested privacy rights and nearly fell apart because of a computer hacker's role in the investigation.
Ronald C. Kline was standing with his hands in his pockets and swaying slightly as U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall indicated he would do prison time. Kline's knees suddenly buckled, and he fell backward, with his eyes closed, into the arms of one of his attorneys.

A nurse and paramedics rushed to the courtroom. They monitored his heart and administered other tests on the 66-year-old Kline. He was on his feet about a half-hour later, and his attorneys said he was well enough to sit through the rest of the hearing.
When it resumed, Marshall also ordered Kline to serve three years of strictly supervised probation. During that time, he cannot use the Internet or possess any technology -- including a cellphone -- that would allow Internet access without prior written approval.
Other conditions bar him from lingering within 100 feet of schools, parks and other common gathering points for children under 18. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Marshall said she based her ruling on a variety of factors, including a recommendation by probation officers that Kline serve from 27 to 33 months, the seriousness of the offense, Kline's lack of prior criminal history and his acceptance of responsibility.
Assistant U.S. Attys. Gregory W. Staples and Deirdre Z. Eliot said they were satisfied with the sentence, even though they had asked for the maximum 33 months.
The prosecutors spent a good deal of the hearing chronicling Kline's pursuit of an 18-year-old man he met while both were enrolled last year at a treatment center for sexual disorders. Kline had been ordered by the facility's staff to stay at least 10 feet away from the teen, who is described in court records as emotionally and developmentally disabled. Instead, Kline wrote him letters and asked him to move in.
Kline's attorneys were seeking probation for their client, arguing that he had accepted responsibility and was voluntarily undergoing rigorous treatment for what they described as a sex addiction. . They repeatedly pointed out that Kline broke no laws by interacting with the 18-year-old, who was legally an adult.
"This is a tragic case," said Paul S. Meyer, one of his attorneys. "Our client has obviously suffered throughout this entire ordeal."
Kline, who has been confined to his Irvine home and has had to wear an electronic monitoring device since his arrest, was ordered to surrender to U.S. marshals by May 21. He has never spoken publicly about the allegations. Given the chance to address the court Tuesday, Kline said he owed an apology to society in general and people he had met over the years.
"The problem is, I can't think of a way to say it to make any of it right," he said. "It would be a lifetime of apologies for what I did."


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