Facing Prison, Former Space-Center Chief Says Ordeal Has Altered His Life

By: AP
By: AP

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ Although he still insists he's innocent of any crime, Max Ary, the founder of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, is heading to prison on Thursday.

Ary spent 26 years as president and chief executive officer of the Cosmosphere before leaving in 2002 to become executive director of the Kirkpatrick Science and Air Space Museum at the Omniplex in Oklahoma City. He later left that position.

Ary was sentenced to three years in a minimum security prison in El Reno, Oklahoma, on convictions relating to his selling items from the Cosmposphere that were not his.

Ary has fought the charges for four years and says he'll keep up the court battle even from prison. He insists he is innocent and calls his prison sentence a travesty of justice.

Prosecutors say Ary sold artifacts that belonged to NASA and the Cosmosphere through specialized auctions.

Ary says the sales were simply a mixup because he was selling items for both himself and the Cosmosphere at the time.

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