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Gibbs sentenced on child porn charges

The former Shippensburg University professor’s one to seven years on child porn charges are on top of a 12 to 30-year Ohio sentence

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Gibbs sentenced on child porn charges
Gibbs

Former Shippensburg University journalism professor Richard Wesley Gibbs stood at the bench in a green prison garb and handcuffs Tuesday, folding his hands and listening as attorneys discussed his case with the judge.

“I have to admit that I panicked, and that’s all I’m going to have to say,” Gibbs said.

The 57-year-old Southampton Township resident turned Panamanian fugitive kept his word, making no further comment as Cumberland County Judge Edward Guido sentenced him to one to seven years at a state prison on 14 counts of possessing child pornography.

Gibbs pleaded guilty to the charges in March.

Guido’s attorney, Greg Abeln, requested a sentence to run concurrently with one of 12 to 30 years Gibbs is currently serving in Ohio for molesting a family member there from 1987 to 1989. Gibbs was also charged with molestation in California for an incident in the 1980s, but those charges were dismissed after he was sentenced in Ohio.

“I just feel that we should let him get back to Ohio and serve his time there,” Abeln said. “He’s cost the county quite a bit of money so far.”

But the prosecutor disagreed, requesting a sentence consecutive to that in Ohio, and Guido obliged.

The parole laws must be different in Ohio, Guido said, as he was told Gibbs would be eligible for parole there in seven years.

The Pennsylvania sentence, Guido noted, was in the standard range. He also required Gibbs, who has been determined to be a sexually violent predator, to register with the Megan’s Law sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

Police said they found child pornography on computers at Gibbs’ home and university office in April 2006. After fleeing the area then, Gibbs was first caught in North Carolina that June, where he fled again after posting $25,000 bail, then found in Panama that October after being feature on the “America’s Most Wanted” television show.

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