Doctor in Mass. child porn case pleads guilty

Created: 11/04/2013 4:35 PM

(AP) BOSTON - A doctor who worked as the medical director of the prestigious Phillips Academy boarding school in Massachusetts pleaded guilty Monday to child pornography charges.

Richard Keller, of Andover, pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving and one count of possessing child pornography. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Keller’s attorney and federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of between five years, three months and 6 1/2 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Under the agreement, Keller, the former medical director at the elite academy in Andover, acknowledged purchasing child pornography from a Canadian company and having some of it sent to the student health center.

Phillips Academy’s alumni include former presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. Keller worked as the school’s medical director for 19 years until the academy failed to renew his contract in 2011.

As part of the agreement, Keller acknowledged that he has had a sexual interest in adolescents since the early 1970s. In a written agreement filed in court Monday, Keller also acknowledged viewing child pornography on the Internet and "that he has previously tried to stop, but failed to do so."

Keller, 57, did not speak during a court hearing in Boston, except to answer questions from U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor IV.

Keller kept his hands folded under his chin as Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf described the charges against him, including an allegation that he purchased videos and images from a Toronto company on 19 different occasions between 2009 and 2011. The videos and images depicted boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Belf said Keller was identified through the company’s database after federal postal inspectors began an investigation into the company in 2012. She said that more than 500 high-gloss printouts and 60 to 100 DVDs of child porn were found during a search of Keller’s home.

Keller’s lawyer, Max Stern, declined to comment after the hearing. Prosecutors also declined to comment.

Tracy Sweet, a spokeswoman for Phillips Academy, said Monday that Keller’s 2011 departure from the school was not related to the case.

"At no time during his employment or during the subsequent investigation has anyone alleged criminal behavior by Richard Keller relating to his former role with Phillips Academy," Sweet said in a statement.

John Palfrey, the head of school at Phillips Academy, also had said in an email to students and parents after Keller’s arrest that the decision to not renew Keller’s contract was based on professional misconduct unrelated to the federal case. Palfrey said Keller had been reprimanded in 1999 for using a school computer to access adult pornography and had shown an inappropriate cartoon to students in 2002.

Keller also worked as a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston and taught at Harvard Medical School.