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Utah Professor Charged With Watching Child Porn On Flight To Boston

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Grant Smith in East Boston District Court Nov. 28

Grant Smith in East Boston District Court Nov. 28

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BOSTON (CBS) — A professor at the University of Utah pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he viewed child pornography on his laptop during a flight from Salt Lake City to Boston.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

47-year-old Grant Smith of Cottonwood Heights, Utah was arraigned in East Boston District Court. Bail was set at $75,000.

If he is released, Smith will not be allowed to have any contact with children without supervision.

State police say Smith was sitting in first class on a Delta flight Saturday afternoon when another passenger saw the pornographic images and alerted the flight crew.

The passenger also e-mailed a relative and asked them to call police.

Investigators say he began to erase the files after the flight attendent told him to shut off his computer.

State troopers met Smith after the plane landed at Logan Airport and took him into custody.

Police say they found several disturbing files on his laptop, including photos of children, mostly girls, ranging from 5-to-14 years old.

Smith has been charged with possession of child pornography. He was also ordered to stay off the Internet, unless it’s for business purposes.

Smith is a divorced father of two young children. He is a professor of material science and engineering and an adjunct professor of chemical engineering at the University of Utah.

Prosecutors say his laptop was purchased with grant money.

Smith does not have a criminal record, but prosecutors said Monday he admitted to police that he has traded pictures of teens over the Internet.

State police spokesman David Procopio issued this blistering statement about the arrest Sunday.

In the view of the State Police, child pornography is a form of child sexual abuse–nothing less. Those who possess it — a crime unto itself — foster an evil network that sexually abuses and exploits children irreparably.

Stopping child pornographers is a critical part of our mission to protect children. Along with our federal and local partners, we execute dozens of warrants related to this wicked crime each year. One hopes there is a special place in Hell for the evil people who make, trade, and possess child pornography. Until they get there, we are committed to putting them in jail.

Smith is due back in court December 27th.

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports

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