Central Michigan University professor charged with child pornography

handcuffsSeveral sexually explicit videos of children were found on a campus work computer of William Merrill, a professor of Central Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Services. These videos had nothing to do with his research which focuses on internet censorship and the use of children in advertising. Although, Merrill said there was reasoning as to why he had possession of these explicit images and videos, I don’t believe they’re justified at all.

On October 31st, the investigation started when CMU’s information technology staff noticed a huge amount of data that was coming from a single computer in the university’s network. They tracked the source, disconnected the computer from the internet and then waited to see if the computer user would try to contact the IT staff for support, which Merrill did. This was the first day of investigation that would last about a month.

The IT staff opened a folder on the computer’s desktop and found three video files, the first one opened contained pictures of nude children who ages appeared to range from 8-12 years old.

Soon Merrill was suspended and banned from the university but was not arrested.

Merrill admitted to just downloading three videos on his work computer and said that was everything but the police then found more than 5,400 images and at the least 26 whole movies where children are being sexually exploited.

Merrill said he was sexually assaulted as a child and “wanted to know if child pornography was as repulsive as he had read about,” while he was being questioned by investigators. If that was his reasoning, I don’t understand why you would need over 5,400 images and over 20 videos to do so.

William Merrill appeared in federal court Tuesday in Flint and pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to possession of child pornography charges. He is charged separately with state-level child porn charges.