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Jeff Kolpack, Published June 27 2009

Porn suspect agrees to move to halfway house

A former Blue Cross Blue Shield official accused of possessing more than 600,000 images of child pornography has agreed to move into a Fargo halfway house after prosecutors sought to have him jailed until his trial.

Robert Scheiring, 42, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of distribution and possession of child pornography. He had been living at his Fargo home under electronic monitoring since his arrest in May, but prosecutors said they decided to ask for detention after reviewing the evidence.

At a hearing Friday on that request, U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein called the halfway house “an appropriate solution to a very difficult situation” and said she was worried about Scheiring living at home with his family. He has three children.

“It is psychologically an unhealthy atmosphere,” Klein said.

Earlier this week, Klein said she was hesitant to change the home detention order because Scheiring had complied with the conditions of the release. Defense attorney Steven Light said Scheiring suggested the halfway house to spare his family. Light said he did not think prosecutors’ motion for jail would be granted but “he would not like to take that chance.”

Scheiring cannot leave the halfway house without supervision, Klein said.

Prosecutors agreed Scheiring should be given credit for time served if he is convicted. His trial is set for Aug. 3.

In seeking jail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl had cited the number of images found during the investigation as well as the graphic content and the young ages of the victims.

Scheiring resigned last month from his position as assistant vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. Investigators said Scheiring had viewed some of the pornographic images while at work.