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Former Local Broadcaster Facing Child Porn Charges

ROCHESTER — A former news manager whose resume includes radio and television jobs in several places across Central New York has been arrested on child pornography charges. The U.S. Department of Justice says Robert Jason Fain — a.k.a. Rob Jason — was arrested after investigators say he was using computers at his job to distribute illegal images.

Added 9/19: Mr. Fain died on September 9.  Although we ran a separate story regarding his passing, we noticed this story continues to generate views.  As a result, we want re-emphasize a point brought up by a CNYRadio.com reader, which was previously added to the newer story:  “You might add that all charges against him will eventually be dismissed. As a person is not guilty until proven guilty, a person’s death prior to either a guilty plea or conviction means that he/she is not guilty at the time of death.”

If convicted of the charges, federal authorities say Fain could face anywhere from five to 20 years in prison. He could also be fined as much as $250,000. Prosecutors say Fain’s full-time employer, Rochester Institute of Technology, alerted authorities when it learned Fain “was utilizing RIT’s internet connection to distribute images of child pornography.” When investigators acted on the lead, they say they found enough evidence to get Fain to admit that he was distributing the images online.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports Fain has been suspended from his job at RIT. The paper says, alongside his work at RIT, Fain has remained active in broadcasting as a part-time news anchor at Clear Channel’s WHAM 1180 in Rochester. The paper also mentions a LinkedIn profile detailing Fain’s experience.

Although Fain’s LinkedIn page is no longer available, a cached version on Google lists the following among Fain’s experience in broadcasting:

  • 1986: WTKO radio, Ithaca / News Director
  • 1986: Time-Life Cable, Ithaca / Anchor, producer, reporter
  • 1988-1990 / WHEN radio, Syracuse / Anchor (lead anchor for election night 1989)
  • 1990: WPIE radio, Ithaca / News Director
  • 1990: WICZ television, Binghamton / News Director
  • 1990-1995: WSTM television, Syracuse / Assignment Editor
  • 1995-1996: WWNY television, Watertown / Anchor, producer, reporter
  • 1996-1999: WWTI television, Watertown / News Director
    • Won a total of 13 awards from Associated Press, Syracuse Press Club and NYS Broadcasters Association during first year of operation
  • 2000-2002: WETM television, Elmira / News Director
  • 2002-2005: WROC television, Rochester / Executive Producer
  • 2005-2006: WHAM radio, Rochester / Afternoon anchor
  • 2007-2011: WHAM radio, Rochester / Sunday morning anchor

According to the Rochester D&C, Fain has been released under the condition he get his cell phone fitted with a tracking device which will allow federal authorities to keep track of his whereabouts. He’s due back in court on October 26.

Here’s the official press release the U.S. Department of Justice sent to various media outlets:

ROCHESTER MAN CHARGED IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE

ROCHESTER, N.Y.– Robert Jason Fain, 51,of Rochester, New York, was charged with distributing child pornography, United States Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. of the Western District of New York announced today. Distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, stated that the criminal complaint alleged that on March 25, 2011, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) advised the FBI that RIT had learned that the defendant, who is employed at RIT, was utilizing RIT’s internet connection to distribute images of child pornography. It is alleged that an undercover officer was chatting with the defendant about sex with underage females and the defendant discussed his sexual interest in children. During this chat and numerous others, it is alleged that the defendant sent the undercover officer several dozen images of child pornography. Further, it is alleged that an examination of the defendant’s email account at Yahoo.com revealed that the defendant was trading child pornography with other individuals over the internet. The criminal complaint further alleges that a search of the defendant’s home was conducted on August 24, 2011, and the defendant admitted to distributing child pornography files on the Internet.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The criminal complaint was the culmination of an investigation on the part of the agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Task Force, under the direction of Christopher M. Piehota, Special Agent in Charge.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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