CMU Net censorship expert charged with child porn

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — A professor whose research focuses on Internet censorship and the use of children in advertising has been charged with having child pornography on his Central Michigan University computer, the school announced Thursday.

The school said it suspended William L. Merrill on Monday and barred him from the campus in Mount Pleasant, about 120 miles northwest of Detroit.

"We take this matter very seriously and have strict policies against this kind of conduct," Sherry Knight, a university interim associate vice president, said in a statement. "From the astute employees who discovered and reported the materials immediately, to the police who acted swiftly and continue to investigate this matter, our goal is to ensure the safety of our campus community and beyond."

The Associated Press left phone and email messages Thursday night for Merrill, a 58-year-old tenured faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services.

According to the university, its information technology employees found "inappropriate material" on Merrill's computer Monday, and it suspended him that day.

At a news conference Thursday, Knight said Merrill has no connection with the university's child development and learning laboratory. She said his suspension is with pay.