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Former professor found guilty of child pornography charges

Former part-time history professor Roderick S. Vosburgh, 45, was found guilty of possession and attempted possession of child pornography Nov. 6 after a two-and-a-half day trial.

Vosburgh was in tears after the verdict was announced, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“We’re very disappointed,” Vosburgh’s lawyer, Anna Durbin, said.

Durbin also said Vosburgh’s representatives will be filing a post-trial motion sometime this week claiming that the case has insufficient evidence that Vosburgh is guilty.

The jury determined that Vosburgh had numerous nude photos of pre-teen girls spreading their legs on his external hard drive and that he attempted to download a video of a child having sex, according to the Inquirer. The video, a non-pornographic image posted in disguise on a message board by an undercover FBI agent, was actually a sting that allowed investigators to track Vosburgh down Feb. 27, 2007.

Vosburgh’s external hard drive contained, among other files, more than 2,000 suggestive photos of a 13-year-old girl, “Loli-chan,” who posted the photos herself. Durbin said the images could have been downloaded unintentionally by Vosburgh after visiting a perfectly legal Web site.

“Sometimes operating systems put thumbnails on a computer without the person knowing,” Durbin said.

She thinks there is not enough evidence to prove that Vosburgh actually even looked at the nude images FBI agents discovered on his external hard drive.

Also during the trial, Vosburgh was acquitted of charges of destroying property that prevented a federal investigation. When FBI agents arrived at his apartment in Media, Pa., with a search warrant, Vosburgh’s computer was found completely destroyed. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage dropped the charge, citing a lack of evidence as the reason behind the decision, according to the Inquirer. Vosburgh claims that he smashed up his computer and threw parts of it in the trash and toilet in order to get rid of a virus. During the seizure in February agents also found an AK-47, shotguns, assault rifles, semi-automatic handguns, revolvers and cartridges in the apartment.

Vosburgh will be sentenced this February, and could face up to five years in prison. According to the Inquirer, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Denise Wolf wanted Vosburgh to be put behind bars immediately, but until sentencing, Vosburgh is free on electronic monitoring because he did not violate the terms of his bail.

Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Cicala said of the news of the verdict, “While I have no direct knowledge of any of the people or circumstances involved, I find the situation a very sad and troubling one.”

He also expressed concern for Vosburgh’s former students, and recommended that those particularly troubled by the situation seek help at the Student Counseling Center or University Ministry and Service.

In April, Vosburgh attempted to contact two former students through e-mail, and La Salle Security and Safety alerted the authorities and eventually the campus in a report on the mylasalle portal. At the time he contacted the students, Vosburgh was restricted from using the Internet.

Vosburgh is a Holocaust expert, and taught at local community colleges and Temple University before his arrest. He also taught history to inmates at Graterford Prison.


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