Former Boy Scouts leader Gary Morano sentenced to more than a century in prison in child porn case

But will serve just four years under plea deal

— A former Boy Scouts leader from Davie pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of child pornography and was sentenced to more than a century in prison, but he'll actually spend much less time than that behind bars.

Gary Morano, 66, was charged with 100 counts of child pornography possession and his case was about to go into jury selection Wednesday when he changed his plea to guilty. Under a plea deal, Morano was sentenced by Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson to 111 years, 11 months, which will be reduced to just four years followed by 12 years of probation as a sex offender, said Assistant State Attorney Joseph Zager.

The lengthier sentence is designed to deter Morano, who remains free on bond, from fleeing the county instead of surrendering as ordered on March 26. The four-year deal goes out the window if Morano decides to become a fugitive, and if he's later captured, he will serve out the full sentence – or as much as he lives through.

The arrangement is not an unusual one in cases where the defendant is out on bond after entering a plea deal. Last year, a former teacher who pleaded no contest in a case involving sex with a minor student was sentenced to 90 years in prison, but when she surrendered as ordered to begin her sentence, her prison term was cut to three years.

Defense lawyer Alex Arreaza maintained Morano's innocence even after the plea, explaining that it was in his client's best interest to take a lenient sentence rather than risk losing at trial.

"We were confident we could win this case," said Arreaza. "But if we were to lose, he would die in prison. We weren't willing to take that chance."

Morano, then a scout leader and assistant scout master for Troop 183 in Davie, was arrested in July 2010 when child porn images were found on his computer. None of the children depicted in the images was associated with the Boy Scouts. He volunteered for the organization starting in March 2008.

Sheriff's detectives working with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force came across information regarding the pornographic images and traced the files to a computer and portable hard drive on rental property Morano owns in Dania Beach with his wife, officials said at the time of his arrest.

The images featured children between the ages of 6 and 10.

Morano told investigators at the time that he was the only person who used that computer and that he was aware he had child pornography files on his hard drive.

Efforts to reach Troop 183 by telephone and email Wednesday were unsuccessful.


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