old_computer.jpgA former San Francisco city network engineer convicted of withholding passwords to the city’s main computer network he built was ordered by a judge today to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution for his actions.

Terry Childs, a Pittsburg resident, was arrested in July 2008 after preventing city officials from accessing the FiberWAN network, which handled about 60 percent of the network traffic for city departments.

Childs, who worked at the city’s Department of Technology, refused to hand over the passwords to the network for 12 days until then-Mayor Gavin Newsom visited him in his jail cell and Childs agreed to give him the passwords.

No city services were ever affected, but officials said they could have been crippled if power had somehow been shut off.

A jury convicted Childs in April 2010 of a computer tampering-related charge, and today San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson ordered him to pay $1,485,791 in restitution to the Department of Technology, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Seth Steward.

In August, Jackson sentenced Childs to four years in prison, although he received credit for time served and has since been released from jail, his attorney Richard Shikman said today.

Shikman declined to comment on Jackson’s ruling on the restitution, but Childs’ attorneys had argued during the trial that the case stemmed from a personality conflict between him and his superiors at the Department of Technology.

Childs had a history of clashing with his superiors and had prior felony convictions for burglary and theft in the early 1980s.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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