Saturday, 2:15 PM
Former 'Candlepins for Cash' host faces child porn charge
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff
Robert Gamere, the sportscaster who hosted the local TV show "Candlepins for Cash'' through most of the 1970s, was arrested today on federal charges of transporting and possessing child pornography.
Bob Gamere in 2007
Several hours later, the 69-year-old Brookline resident pleaded not guilty in a firm voice in US District Court in Boston to a three-count indictment accusing him of distributing child pornography over the Internet on two separate dates last year and of possessing child pornography on his home computer. The indictment was unsealed today.
Federal agents who executed a search warrant last November at the apartment that Gamere shares with his wife also found child pornography pictures in his locked bedroom drawer, according to the office of US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan.
Asked by US Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin whether he understood his right to remain silent, Gamere said,``Yes, yes.''
Gamere, a wiry man with shaggy white hair who broadcast professional baseball, college football and hockey, and horse races in a career that spanned three decades, said little else during the 45-minute hearing. His wife, Dianne, sat in the spectators' gallery with a pained expression.
Sorokin released Gamere on $100,000 bond but ordered that he be confined to his apartment and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. Gamere can leave home to see his lawyer and go to medical appointments but was ordered to stay away from children and to not answer the door to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Assistant US Attorney Dana Gershengorn said Gamere came to the attention of authorities in March of last year when he contacted an undercover FBI in an online chat room and sent e-mails with a child pornography video.
Investigators determined that Gamere had used a screen name, GreatGamere, to mail the video to himself at least once a month for nine months to prevent AOL from deleting it from his e-mail account, Gershengorn said.
The FBI then determined that the screen name GreatGamere had come up in several other FBI undercover investigations, according to a bureau affidavit made public today.
Gershengorn unsuccessfully urged Sorokin to detain Gamere until his trial, calling him a risk of flight. She said the government's case against him was ``very strong'' and that Gamere faced 5 to 20 years in prison on the two transportation charges.
The pornographic images seized by federal agents, she said, were ``extremely, extremely disturbing and involved very young children.''
She cited other risk factors, including a drinking problem and a record of several arrests for driving while intoxicated, and said Gamere was also a potential suicide risk.
But Gamere's lawyer, William H. Kettlewell, said his client has known that he might be arrested since the search of his apartment nearly a year ago and never fled. He does not have a driver's license or a passport. Apart from three adult children who live in the region, he has little family except for a 95-year-old mother in New Jersey, the lawyer said.
``He simply has nowhere to go,'' said Kettlewell. As for the possibility that Gamere might be a suicide risk, the lawyer said, ``He's not happy to be here, but he's far from despondent.''
Gamere told the Globe magazine a year ago in a "Where Are They Now?" item that he was "semiretired," though he had been doing some announcing at Boston University track meets and had been until recently calling horse races at the Brockton Fair. Gamere said he still got stopped on the street by people who appeared on "Candlepins," which ran from 1973 to 1980.