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University of Virginia dean pleads not guilty to child porn charges

Associate Dean Michael G. Morris paid for at least one session on a child porn peer-to-peer network using his University of Virginia email address, investigators alleged in court documents. University of Virginia

An associate dean at the University of Virginia pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, some of which he is accused of having paid for using his campus email account.

Michael G. Morris, 50, associate dean for graduate programs at the university's McIntire School of Commerce, faces as long as 60 years in prison if he is convicted of two counts of distributing or receiving images of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He was indicted last month, according to a previously sealed grand jury report.

The indictment accused Morris, using the screen name "funshooter2006," of logging on to a peer-to-peer file-sharing network that distributes child porn almost 200 times from January to October.

When he was arrested Nov. 6, Morris was in possession of pornography depicting a minor whom he knew to be younger than 12, Charlottesville police and the FBI alleged in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

NBC News isn't publishing the affidavit because of its explicit nature. It alleges that Morris, a highly honored former faculty member at the Air Force Institute of Technology who has been published in academic journals around the world, paid for at least one of the online sessions through PayPal using his university email account.

No trial date was set. The university has suspended Morris, who didn't ask for bond, pending the investigation.

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