HOLLIDAYSBURG - Ideally, Helen Marie McKinley of Altoona wanted a Blair County judge to grant her unsecured bail on Wednesday so she could be freed from the Blair County Prison until the 62 child pornography charges against her could be heard.
But Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva ruled McKinley, 39, will have to remain behind bars unless she can come up with the bail - 10 percent of $50,000 or $5,000.
Kopriva told McKinley that in view of the charges against her, the bail is "reasonable."
McKinley's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ed Ferguson, asked the judge to reconsider McKinley's bail, saying she could not come up with the bail, and he asked that it at least be lowered.
In June, McKinley wrote to Kopriva asking that she be allowed out of prison on unsecured bail.
Blair County Assistant District Attorney Russell Montgomery objected to any reduction in McKinley's bail, pointing out she faces a substantial jail sentence and he considers her a flight risk.
He also believes she is a danger to the community in view of the type of charges against her.
He said he wasn't comfortable with a lower bail.
Ferguson contended that McKinley was not a flight risk. He said that there was no criminal intent involved in McKinley's downloading of the sexually explicit pictures found on her laptop computer.
The defense attorney also noted that McKinley from 1993 to 2002 had been charged with criminal offenses such as theft and bad checks, but her record has been clean for more than a decade.
He added there was no indication that child pornography had ever been part of McKinley's past.
Kopriva stated that the viewing of child pornography was an addiction and an illness. She said, "It needs to be treated."
She also called the use of child pornography "a silent crime," explaining that a person could be using the material for a time without others knowing about it.
Court papers state that an acquaintance of McKinley's came to the Altoona Police Department in January 2012, relating he observed child pornography on her computer.
City police went to her apartment in the 2700 block of Broad Avenue and seized her laptop.
Montgomery said that 252 images of child pornography were found on the computer. McKinley was only charged with 62 of the images.
The photos depicted children performing sexual acts, in various poses and in various states of dress, according to the police affidavit of probable cause.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.