A Massachusetts man was found guilty yesterday of nine counts of possession of child pornography stemming from his more than 20-year association as a photographer for a youth camp in Amherst.

Marshal Zidel, 59, of Somerville, Mass., was convicted after a stipulated facts trial before Justice John M. Lewis in Hillsborough County Superior Court, North.

Each charge alleged Zidel “knowingly possessed a visual representation of a child engaged in sexual activity.”

Zidel was a longtime photographer at Camp Young Judea in Amherst, where he took photos of campers and compiled them into yearbooks. He used those photos to create what he called his own “personal fantasy,” according to a county attorney press release.

The telephone at Camp Young Judea is not in service until June 1. A message left on an answering machine at a Massachusetts phone number for the camp was not returned.

Zidel was accused of juxtaposing the heads and faces of campers onto images that depicted the youngsters engaging in sexual activity. Those images, saved on a CD ROM, were accidentally given to the camp’s director, according to the press release.

While Zidel’s attorney admitted that his client knew the campers depicted in the photos were under 16 years old, the attorney argued the images were not child pornography because the children were not subjected to sexual content, according to the press release.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Nicole Fortune prosecuted the case and argued that the images were child pornography, as the law was designed to protect children from being depicted as engaging in sexual activity.

Over Fortune’s objection, Lewis allowed Zidel to remain free on $50,000 cash or corporate surety bail.

Zidel faces a maximum of 3½ to 7 years in prison on each of the nine counts. A presentencing hearing has not been scheduled. Fortune said she expects sentencing to take place within the next couple of months.

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