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Judge rejects claim that Salem carpenter can't be charged over explicit digital photos

BRENTWOOD - A judge rejected a Salem carpenter's argument that he should not have been charged with a crime after a 15-year-old girl scrolled through his digital camera and found sexually explicit photos of him.

William Tinker, 45, is headed to trial on three felony counts of indecent exposure and lewdness for allegedly handing the girl his camera last Dec. 30 while he was working at her home in Hampstead.

Tinker allegedly asked the girl if she wanted to review some of photos of the work he was doing when she found one of the photos, prosecutors said.

Defense lawyer Chuck Keefe said in court papers that his client mistakenly kept photos on the camera for his girlfriend, and repeatedly apologized for the girl's finding the photos.

Keefe argued that the felony charges couldn't be brought because the law was aimed for those who transmitted the photos over the Internet.

"He did not send or transfer them anywhere," Keefe said in court papers. "Showing a picture to someone does not amount to 'transmitting' that picture."

Judge Marguerite Wageling rejected Tinker's argument that the law only pertained to people who "transmitted" digital photos to the girl over the Internet, which is forbidden by law.

"Showing an individual a photograph in person is clearly a form of conveyance of information," Wageling said in a four page decision.

Prosecutors argued that Tinker's actions would be illegal whether the photos were sent over the Internet or kept on a digital camera

The girl told police that after she found the first photo Tinker "held the camera in front of both of them and flipped through five more pictures," including one of his genitals on the girl's underwear, according to Assistant County Attorney Stephanie Johnson.

Tinker faces up to 3 to 7 years in state prison if he is convicted of the felony charges. His trial is scheduled for the week of Jan. 7 in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Trace Adkins
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