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Ex-SF tech convicted of hijacking city network

Former San Francisco network administrator faces five-year sentence after being found guilty of felony charge of denying computer access.

A former San Francisco network administrator was convicted Tuesday of hijacking the city's computer network and refusing to provide passwords to his superiors.

Terry Childs, who had worked at San Francisco's Department of Telecommunication Information Services for 10 years, was found guilty of a felony charge of denying computer access and faces a maximum state prison sentence of five years, according a San Francisco Chronicle report. Judge Teri Jackson is expected to factor in time already served for Childs, who has been in custody since July 2008.

Childs, 45, tampered with the city's Fiber Wide Area Network, which maintains about 60 percent of the city's law enforcement, payroll, and jail-booking records, after reportedly becoming agitated over pending layoffs. He was also accused of electronically spying on his supervisors and their attempt to fire him, but those charges were dismissed last August.

The four-month trial included testimony from Mayor Gavin Newsom, who got the access codes from Childs during a secret jailhouse visit after Childs had been locked up for a week. Newsom reportedly testified that Childs' actions put the city "in peril."

Childs' attorney had claimed that there was no destructive intent and that Childs was merely protecting the network from incompetent city officials who were trying to force him out of his job.