Alan T. Panda convicted of trying to arrange sexual encounter with 15-year-old boy
Berlin, a fursuiter, babyfur, and "daddyfur/caretaker with a cub side", first made the news in 2009, when, on May 28, he was arrested on charges of propositioning an underage boy over the Internet. After the boy's parents found sexually explicit messages on his computer, they contacted the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit; two days later, Berlin was arrested.
Berlin's trial was initially scheduled for September 13, 2010, though was delayed until October. On October 27, just prior to the start of his trial, it was reported that Berlin had pleaded guilty to three felony counts in return for the attorney general’s office agreeing to drop several other charges against him.
On February 17, 2011, Berlin withdrew the pleas prior to sentencing, and a new trial date was set, with the Deputy Attorney General intending to reinstate the dropped charges. On April 12, the trial opened, and the jury was walked through ten Yahoo Instant Messaging exchanges between Berlin and the teen. These messages involved conversations about sex acts, and, in some of the messages, the two spoke of meeting to have sex in a backyard shed at the boy's home. Berlin also asked the teen to send him nude photos.
Berlin responded by stating that the texts were "only role playing", and he had never intended to actually meet the boy in real life. He further said that he had not realized he was chatting with a teenage boy until authorities raided his home.
After deliberating for about five hours over two days, the jury announced that they were hopelessly deadlocked, and a mistrial was declared.
On March 5, 2012, Berlin's retrial began, with a jury of eleven women and one man. On March 7, the jury found Berlin guilty on all counts. During the trial, Berlin told the jury he "is a furry, meaning he pretends to be an animal for sexual purposes", and defense attorney William T. Tully said that the furry community is "an imagination world where everybody pretends to be something they're not"; in this case, a juvenile dolphin. The jury foreman said the furry aspect was considered, but had little to do with the resolution of the case.
Berlin will be sentenced in May. Sentencing guidelines suggest he may be facing a minimum of four years in prison.