Jay Lockett Sears 'extremely remorseful' for having child porn

Jay Lockett Sears leaves federal court in Central Jay Lockett Sears leaves federal court in Central Islip on Sept. 9, 2013, after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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An East End architect admitted in federal court Monday that he took pictures of underage girls and modified them to look as if the youngsters were performing pornographic acts.

"I am extremely remorseful and accept responsibility for committing this crime," Jay Lockett Sears, 74, of East Moriches told Judge Denis R. Hurley in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Sears faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 17 on his plea to possession of child pornography, but there is no mandatory minimum sentence.

Sears admitted that he created child pornography by taking photographs of children in public settings without their knowledge, such as at beach club parties and other events, and then placed the images of the children's heads onto those of adult bodies engaged in sexual activity.

Some of the images included pictures of Sears' face pasted onto the bodies of other males so as to appear as if he were having sex with children.

Sears told the judge he did not know at the time that possession of such material was against the law. The judge said that was "interesting, but it doesn't affect the criminality."

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The photographs came to the attention of police when someone whose identity has not been revealed found some of the pictures at a dump site. They were traced to Sears, who was moving from his East Moriches apartment to Quogue.

Sears originally had pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment following his arrest in January by FBI agents and Suffolk detectives. The indictment charged that Sears printed photographs of six girls -- identified as Jane Doe Number One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six -- and modified them so the minors appeared to be "engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

Federal law prohibits such computer-generated child pornography.

Sears is credited with designing 1,500 homes, mostly on the East End, for celebrities including Michael J. Fox, Susan Lucci and Clint Eastwood. He also runs his Mission of Kindness organization, which helps needy families.

He remains free on $250,000 bond.

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