Judge lifts Stephen Jenson's curfew, rejects jail request at bond violation hearing
A United States District Court judge amended the conditions of former University of Michigan Hospital medical resident Stephen Jenson’s bond by removing his curfew and decided against sending him to jail for bond violations.
Jenson was in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Wednesday for a bond violation hearing. It was alleged he had used an unauthorized computer and violated his curfew six times.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn ruled the curfew, which banned Jenson from being outside his home from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., was unnecessary. Cohn also said location monitoring was no longer necessary and he doesn’t view Jenson as a flight risk, even though he faces years in a federal prison, if convicted. Cohn said he would not follow Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Roth’s recommendation Jenson be remanded to jail for the violations.
“He’s not going to be remanded,” Cohn said. “That’s out of the question.”
Jenson faces federal charges of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. He has once tried to accept a plea deal by pleading guilty to the possession of child pornography charge, but Cohn rejected the deal because Jenson would not have been able to appeal Cohn’s sentence.
Cohn did warn Jenson about violating the conditions set out by Pretrial Services. At the hearing, Jenson and his attorney stated the computer he used that was not authorized by the government was not located in his home and Roth indicated it was in a library, where Jenson was checking emails.
“The breach of conditions is more important than the quality of the conditions,” he said.
In addition to removing the curfew, Cohn ruled Jenson is no longer allowed to drink alcohol and may travel to Utah to visit his family. Jenson’s attorney Raymond Cassar said this was a major decision for Jenson, who lives alone and has no family in Michigan.
Cassar said the curfew and location monitoring imposed on Jenson since he was arraigned on the federal charges in February have caused him to be treated “like a gerbil.”
“The judge is right, there’s no reason to fear flight,” Cassar said, adding “He should be allowed to go home and visit his family.”
Jenson declined to comment to AnnArbor.com Wednesday.
Jenson is accused of having 97 images and four videos of child pornography on his computer. He was fired by the University of Michigan Hospital in December after the state of Michigan filed charges against him for possession of sexually abusive material. Those charges were dropped in favor of the federal charges.
It’s alleged Jenson had child pornography on a thumb drive he left in a laptop at U-M Hospital in May 2011. A fellow employee discovered by the thumb drive and turned it over to Hospital Security. However, the incident was not reported to U-M Police until November 2011. Records show at least eight different people knew about the alleged child pornography by June 2011.
The university has announced several changes brought on by the six-month reporting delay, including forming a new Division of Public Safety and Security, which was announced Friday. During an external review, investigators interviewed 37 people and found lapses in communication between hospital security and police.
The actual review done by Chicago-based attorney Zachary Fardon will not be released to the public, but a memo was issued summarizing the findings.
An internal review into the reporting lapse was released on Feb. 10. A U.S. Department of Education review into the incident continues.