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Ex-CMU Prof Gets 70 Months In Child Porn Case

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William Merrill (Booking Photo)

William Merrill (Booking Photo)

BAY CITY (WWJ/AP) - A former Central Michigan University professor who pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography has been sentenced to 70 to 87 months in prison.

William Merrill, 58, was sentenced Tuesday in Bay City federal court. He told the judge that he takes full responsibility for his actions and that a portion of his childhood in Germany put context into what he did.

Authorities seized 106,000 images and 1,600 videos of child porn from Merrill last year, including from his computer hard drive at the Mount Pleasant school. Staff at the school discovered videos last fall while investigating why 170 gigabytes were transferred from a campus computer. Merrill had access to the computers because his specialty was studying Internet censorship.

According to court records, a campus IT employee shut down the Internet connection to Merrill’s computer because of a high volume of traffic that suggested the computer might have been taken over by outside hackers. Merrill contacted the IT staff when he couldn’t get online, and that led to the discovery of three videos of child pornography, the records said.

The university said once they were notified of the inappropriate material on Merrill’s school-issued computer, they contacted authorities and suspended Merrill.

According to an affidavit, Merrill told police he “wanted to know if child pornography was as repulsive as he had read about.”

Merrill worked at CMU for nearly 30 years. His research in the university’s College of Education and Human Services was focused on the use of children in advertising.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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