WASHINGTON -- A Naval Academy midshipman described at a military hearing yesterday the "nightmare" of finding child pornography on the computer of a student who shared a room with him in the college's dormitory.
The testimony was heard during the first hearing for Michael S. Pollard, 22, of Apopka, Fla., who is accused of possessing and distributing hundreds of images and videos of children having sex.
Mikoto Yoshida, a senior who shared a room with Pollard and four other midshipmen in Bancroft Hall, said the roommates frequently shared computers. He said he went to use the Internet on Pollard's computer one afternoon in February 2007 because his own computer was slow.
He said he became suspicious when he saw a file in the start menu titled "Boy Party." He clicked on it and a video displayed two "adolescent-looking" boys on a bed engaging in sex acts, Yoshida said. He testified that he also found a document describing sexual fantasies involving young boys.
"I thought it was a nightmare," Yoshida said, adding that he soon showed the video to two other midshipmen who lived in the room. "We thought this was an error or a fluke, or some type of misunderstanding," he said.
Pollard, a senior, sat quietly during the Article 32 hearing, which is akin to a grand jury proceeding, held at the Washington Navy Yard. After more than six hours of testimony, Navy Cmdr. Michael C. Holifield, the investigating officer, told lawyers that he will decide within days whether the case should go to trial or the charges should be dropped.
Pollard is accused of possessing and attempting to distribute pornography between July 2003 and August 2007. The charges involve 105 images of subjects who have been tentatively identified as minors, including preadolescent boys, and hundreds of other pictures of males who appear to be younger than 18, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Peter Clemow, the prosecutor.
Pollard is accused of storing the pornography on a computer and an external hard drive in his dorm and on a laptop that investigators found at his family's home in Florida. Pollard is also accused of attempting to impede a criminal investigation by deleting some of the pornography.
Pollard's civilian defense attorney, Larry N. Burch, emphasized during the hearing that Navy investigators lacked a written order to seize Pollard's computer from his dorm room. Burch also said there was no evidence that Pollard attempted to distribute child pornography.