Female attorney guilty of bringing 14-year-old to Canada to make porn
CONCORD - A U.S. District Court jury Thursday convicted Manchester attorney Lisa Biron on all eight counts of a federal indictment charging transportation of a minor with intent to commit criminal sexual activity, sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.
The jury of three women and nine men returned the verdict quickly. They were given jury instructions by Judge Paul Barbadoro shortly after noon and sent to lunch, with the option of beginning deliberations immediately.
By the time court resumed at 1:15, the jurors had made their decision. A juror later said: "The evidence was pretty overwhelming."
Juror Peter Evans of Manchester said: "It was a difficult case ... I'm not sure I could come up with one (deciding factor)."
Evans said one juror took a little bit of time to join the rest and make the decision unanimous, but he declined to say whether it was a male or female juror.
As for a sentence, Evans said: "She is going to deserve whatever she gets."
U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said the mininum sentence Biron could get at the sentencing hearing set for April 22 is 25 years.
He said the transportation charge carries a minimum of 10 years, each of the exploitation charges carries a minimum of 15 years, and the possession charge carries a maximum of 10 years.
Kacavas, who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Fitzgibbon, said he was not surprised at the quick verdict. "You don't often have the graphic evidence. The defendant is seen and heard (on the videos)."
He said the defendant "made video evidence that speaks for itself. . . It was overwhelming."
One of those videos, made with a cellphone, shows Biron and the victim engaged in sexual activity in Biron's home. Several others showed the 14-year-old victim engaged in sexual activity at a Canadian hotel.
Biron and the teen went to Niagara Falls over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend to meet a 19-year-old Canadian, Kevin Watson, who the teen had met online, so the girl could have sex with the Canadian.
Watson testified that the trio smoked marijuana, drank alcohol and had sex, with Biron videotaping Watson and the young girl. Watson said he had sex with Biron, too, and she took a photo of him on the bed between her and the young girl.
A former Merrimack teen, Brandon Ore, 18, testified he met Biron when he answered a Craigslist personal ad, "2 girls looking to party, 18 and 33."
He said he had sex with Biron the first time he went to her house in July 2012, and she told him to bring a friend the next time because her "roommate" would be there. Ore testified he brought a friend the next five or six times he went to
Biron's Pratt Court residence. He said he had sex with the young girl, and his friends had sex with Biron.
Ore testified Biron showed him on her laptop video of the 14-year-old having sex with the Canadian youth. He said she also wanted him to have sex with the young girl on the couch of her living room. "She was filming us with her iPhone," said Ore, although he didn't realize it at first. When he and the girl asked if Biron was filming, she said "no" but then she laughed, he testified.
Ore said he wasn't happy with his parents' rules, so he moved into Biron's house and lived there for a couple of months. But after another man moved in, Ore said he left and went to Manchester Police to report what he had done and what Biron had done.
When he told Biron what he'd done, she drove him to the police station, telling him to tell police he'd filed a false report and take the misdemeanor consequences. Instead, Ore said: "I asked if I could make a report of her lying."
Ore's September report to police - about having sex with an underage girl and about Biron's videos of the 14-year-old having sex - started the investigation by Manchester Police that led to Biron's arrest in Manchester on child pornography charges and later the federal investigation, indictment and trial, which ended with a guilty verdict.
The final witness, who testified Thursday morning, was FBI forensic examiner James Scripture Jr., who testified that he had copied the hard drive from Biron's laptop and cellphone memory and was able to pinpoint where and when videos and pictures on the laptop were created.
He said the video of Biron engaged in sexual activity with the young girl had been created May 18 at Pratt's Manchester home. That was a week before, Biron told several witnesses, that she took the young girl to Canada and created a "keepsake" video of the girl's first sexual experience.
Biron, who had put her hands over her ears and put her head down Wednesday when the sounds from a video of her with the young girl was played for jurors, did not have a visible reaction to the verdict.
Biron's lawyer, James Moir, said Biron will appeal
Previous story follows:
CONCORD - A U.S. District Court jury is now deliberating in the trial of Manchester lawyer Lisa Biron, 43, who is accused of taking a 14-year-old girl to Canada to make a child porn film with a Canadian youth, sexually exploiting the girl in making videos of her with another man, and making a cellphone video of herself engaged in sexual activity with the girl.
The final witness in the two-day trial was an FBI forensic investigator who examined Biron's laptop and cellphone.
James Scripture Jr. identified when and where the videos were made, including the cellphone video of Biron and the girl, which he said preceded the Memorial Day weekend visit to Niagara Falls.
In the government's closing argument, assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Fitzgibbon played brief portions of phone calls between Biron and her parents in which Biron appears to blame the teen for her troubles.
"It takes away any doubt of the defendant's guilt," Fitzgibbon told the jury of three women and nine men.
Fitzgibbon said witnesses testified that Biron planned to make the video before taking the girl to Canada, the girl is a minor and Biron exploited the girl in the making of the videos and several still photos.
Fitzgibbon acknowledged the girl wasn't dragged kicking and screaming into making the sex videos, but said she was just 14 and was given marijuana and alcohol.
Defense attorney James Moir told jurors that the case is not about whether Biron is a good or bad person.
What this case is about, he said, is whether the government has proved each and every element.
One charge alleges she transported the girl to Canada to make a pornographic film, but Moir said the issue is her purpose in traveling. "Did she intend to make a pornographic movie," he said, or was it to meet Kevin Watson, to have sex and to see Niagara Falls?
If she didn't decide to make the movie until she got there, he said, she's not guilty.
He also questioned the veracity of witnesses, some of whom stand to avoid any prosecution for sex with a minor as a result of their testimony.
As for sexual exploitation, said Moir, the victim appears to be a willing participant. While the filming is not a nice act, he said: "You have to find that in some way (Biron) caused this. What was the inducement (for the girl)?"
Moir said Biron's friend, Lisa Brien, testified they met at church, and she had known Biron for 12 years and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until her husband left in July 2011.
After that, Moir said: "(Biron) went down this deep hole." Moir said jurors can hate what Biron did, but they must put their feelings aside and decide whether the government has proved the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
To say, "I'm almost positive" is not enough, said Moir.