SVSU professor avoids jail, resigns in computer porn case - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

SVSU professor avoids jail, resigns in computer porn case

Posted: Updated:
SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(01/13/14) - A longtime Saginaw Valley State University professor avoided jail time after pleading guilty to downloading child pornography.

Robert Thaler was arrested in June, accused of possessing child pornography on his university computer.

His attorney says this case should serve as a warning to anyone who decides to download certain images onto their computers.

"Its an eye-opener for the rest of the community. You have to be careful what you download," said attorney Michael Manley, regarding the case of suspended Saginaw Valley State University sociology professor Robert Thaler.

Thaler was accused of nine counts of possessing child sexually abusive material and using a computer to commit a crime, facing at least four years in prison.

"At least diagnosed now that you had a pornography addiction, correct," Manley asked Thaler.

"Yes," Thaler said.

"And most of that was all adult pornography, isn't that true?" Manley said.

"Yes," Thaler said.

Downloading adult pornography is not illegal, but Thaler admits that two of the pictures in his possession were of people under the age of 18.

"If you download 10,000 images and two of them come back as children under the age of 18 years of age, you are guilty," Manley said. "There were two pictures that we agreed were under the age of 18."

The seven other charges were dropped. With the plea agreement, Manley says Thaler will avoid jail time, but will be on the sex offender registry.

Saginaw County's Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Boyd says he believes Thaler had more illegal images on his work computer.

"In our estimation, a multitude of images, it just came down to what can we legally prove was in fact child pornography," he said.

Manley says as part of the plea agreement, Thaler will resign from the university.

"He has accepted responsibility. He was a good professor, it's just an unfortunate incident all around," Manley said.

Thaler began working at SVSU in 1974, but had not taught a class there since April 2012, after being banned from campus as the investigation began.

Powered by WorldNow

abc12.com

ABC12 Main Station
810-233-3130

Mailing Address:
2302 Lapeer Road
Flint, Michigan 48503

Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WJRT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.