Ramonan faces prison term in child porn case

A Ramona man who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his computer faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 20, 2009.

William Joseph Hazlitt, 27, a co-owner of  HT Martial Arts business in Ramona, is no longer a karate instructor with the firm as a result of the case that was filed against him on Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court in San Diego. His attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said in court at a bail hearing that Hazlitt has limited his role in the business since charges were filed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano said Hazlitt admitted to possessing a computer that contained a video file that depicted two teenagers engaging in sexual conduct with each other. Serano said the computer also contained other images of minors.

An FBI agent posed as a parent interested in karate instruction for his son and came into the business seeking information. According to court records, Hazlitt met with the undercover agent and showed him the studio on May 15.

Federal authorities seized Hazlitt’s computer on June 4 and analyzed its content before charges were filed. Armstrong told the magistrate at the bail hearing that Hazlitt knew charges would be coming and he did not flee the area.

Hazlitt remains free on $150,000 bond on condition he have no contact with minors unless there is an adult present who is aware of the charges. U.S. Magistrate Louisa Porter ordered Hazlitt not to be involved with the karate training at the business as a condition of bail.

Hazlitt denied to agents any improper conduct with minors and has not been charged with any such offenses. The sentencing judge may order him to register as a sex offender.

   
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