BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - Under a deal with prosecutors, a Michigan college professor who specialized in studying Internet censorship pleaded guilty Thursday to receiving child pornography.
William Merrill 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.
His family and friends filled half the courtroom gallery, MLive.com reported.
Merrill faces at least five years in prison. He resigned from the university in November.
"While I did not watch the entire thing, I realized it was child pornography and I kept it on my computer, or, my external hard drive," he told U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Charles E. Binder in Bay City.
In exchange for Merrill's guilty plea, the government dropped a second count of the same charge and a count of possession of child pornography, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Libby Kelly Dill.
Binder allowed Merrill to remain free on bond pending his sentencing.
Staff at the Mount Pleasant school discovered videos last fall while investigating why 170 gigabytes of data were transferred from a campus computer.
The Associated Press
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