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CMU Professor Pleads Guilty In Child Porn Case

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(credit: cmich.edu/istock)

(credit: cmich.edu/istock)

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BAY CITY (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan college professor who specialized in studying Internet censorship has pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.

William Merrill, 58, admitted in his plea agreement that he had a child porn video on his computer hard drive at Central Michigan University. He also admitted to possessing more than 65,000 images.

Merrill was charged last fall with distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and using a computer to commit a crime. He was also charged with possessing a switchblade, which was allegedly found in his office desk drawer.

Merrill pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Thursday in Bay City federal court and faces at least five years in prison.

Merrill told a judge that he didn’t watch the entire video but knew it was child porn. Staff at the Mount Pleasant school discovered videos last fall while investigating why 170 gigabytes were transferred from a campus computer.

MLive.com reported that Merrill’s family and friends filled half the courtroom gallery.

Merrill worked in CMU’s College of Education and Human Services and had been doing research on the use of children in advertising.

He resigned from the university in November.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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