Government sends request to garnish Nesset’s accounts

Alex Weidenhof, Copy/Enterprise Editor

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The federal government has sent the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania a request to garnish Kirk Nesset’s retirement accounts to pay his restitution due to victims as a result of his 2016 guilty plea on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

The application for writ of garnishment, filed Tuesday, Jan. 22, by David Lew, assistant U.S. attorney, states that Nesset owes $78,191.37 out of a $78,900 restitution. Judge David Cercone ordered the restitution on Feb. 10, 2016, after Nesset’s guilty plea.

In the application, the federal government names two retirement accounts Nesset has with the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America – College Retirement Equities Fund as sources of property it wishes to garnish.

If the application for writ of garnishment is granted, the TIAA would have 10 days to file an answer to the writ, filing with both the government and Nesset, court records show. Nesset has 20 days to request a hearing either to change venues — he is currently imprisoned in Arizona, while the court is in Pittsburgh — or to argue this property is exempt from garnishment under federal law.

Two victims to whom Nesset owes restitution have also filed a lawsuit against him. The victims, identified only as “Vicky” and “Sarah” in the civil suit, were granted restitution in the amounts of $32,500 and $26,500, respectively. They joined six other victims in the lawsuit, and each victim requests $150,000 in statutory damages, in addition to actual, compensatory and punitive damages.

In a filing with the court during Nesset’s trial, the government argued that his actions mandate a long prison sentence as well as a high monetary cost of restitution.

“Child pornography has a highly destructive impact on the most vulnerable segment of society which lasts forever,” the filing reads in part. “Not only does it devastate children, it undermines all of society by perversely validating to some troubled individuals the sexual exploitation of increasingly younger children.”

The government waived Nesset’s duty to pay interest on his restitution, finding that he “does not have the ability” to do so, court records show. In addition to a $78,900 restitution, Nesset is currently serving 76 months in a federal penitentiary.

Meagan Temple and Mike Bruzzese, who represented Nesset in his criminal case, could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday, Jan. 25.