Herbert Gaston is sentenced to prison, home confinement

Staff reports

Herbert P. Gaston, 46, of Bluff Point, who was convicted of the  destruction of records in a federal investigation on Dec. 8, 2006, was sentenced Jan. 3 to six months imprisonment, six months home confinement, two years of supervised release, and a $2,000 fine by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer, U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn of the Western District of New York announced.

Gaston will begin serving the sentence at some point within the next 15 to 30 days, according to Margaret McFarland, a spokesperson for the attorney’s office. She was not able to say what facility he will be sent to.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who handled the case, stated that in October 2005, the United States Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) was conducting a child pornography investigation.  On Oct. 20, 2005, ICE special agents interviewed Gaston, a doctor, at the defendant’s medical office at the Medical Arts Building at 418 North Main St., Penn Yan.  After being interviewed on Oct. 20, 2005, and sometime prior to Oct. 27, 2005, the date that the ICE special agents obtained a search warrant for Gaston’s computers, Gaston used wiping software to erase the contents of a computer in his office.  Gaston also burned the hard drive of another computer in his office.  Gaston altered and destroyed the computers with the intent to impede and obstruct ICE’s investigation.

The conviction was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to a statement released by Flynn’s office, this case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.