By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A former Wharton School professor doing jail time trafficking in child pornography has his request for a lighter sentence denied.

Lawrence Ward, 69, had asked that the prison sentence be reduced from 25 years to 15, citing his advanced age, numerous health issues, including leukemia, and his own history of being sexually abused as a child. While saying he deeply regrets what he did, Ward still denied having sex with underage boys.

But prosecutors presented evidence to the contrary, including sexually graphic emails Ward sent to his impoverished Brazilian victims while he was behind bars. His victims are now in their early 20’s.

However, Assistant US Attorney Bea Witzleben believes Ward had his eyes on the next generation — the children of his victims — youngsters the defendant called his grandchildren.

“In our judgment, it constituted what people in the field of sex offense called grooming: trying to cultivate a relationship with perspective victims, which might then allow those victims to participate in sexual activity.”

Judge Beatrice Tucker ruled that the sentence remain in place, increased a fine to $250,000 and ordered that Ward be barred from having contact with any minors.