EAST NAPLES — A 35-year-old former East Naples man was acquitted of 39 counts of possessing child pornography after admitting to jurors he'd downloaded adult porn, but had no idea child porn files were attached.
After a 1½-day trial, a three-woman, three-man jury deliberated 31 minutes Tuesday evening before acquitting Bruce Allen Fields of possessing pornographic photos of children between the ages of 5 to 10 engaging in sex acts alone and with other children.
Collier Circuit Judge James Shenko then released Fields, who now lives in Arkansas. He had faced five years in a state prison on each count.
"He had accidentally downloaded it while downloading adult pornography and he didn't know that stuff was on his computer," his defense attorney, Lee Hollander of Naples, said after the verdict.
On Tuesday, Fields told jurors the first time he saw the child porn was that morning, when jurors viewed it in court.
"I didn't know that stuff was there," Fields said during questioning by Hollander.
Prosecutors told jurors Fields confessed to Collier County sheriff's investigator Scott Rapisarda, but Hollander told jurors that wasn't what he'd said.
In the statement, he admitted that when he'd discovered he'd downloaded child porn before, he immediately deleted it.
"I told jurors that if there was any question about what he said, to listen to his statement again during deliberations. They didn't," Hollander said.
"We respect the jurors' decision," said Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.
Fields, who had no record and was head of security for a major retailer, was arrested in March 2010, but has been free on bond since.
His arrest was the result of a peer-to-peer file-sharing investigation by the Sheriff's Office. Users of peer-to-peer files access the network by installing special software on their computers. Users typically designate a folder on their computer that will contain the files they want to share, and other network users, including law enforcement, only have access to those files.
Hollander showed jurors there was no evidence to prove Fields ever accessed those files because the Windows registry of access dates was the same as the download date. Sheriff's investigators also hadn't obtained the access dates to prove he'd opened the files, contending they weren't relevant because anti-virus programs change the date each time the virus programs are used.