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Former CMU professor William Merrill sentenced to 70 months in prison for child pornography possession

On Nov. 13, 2012, Attorney Daniel O’Neil looks toward the family of William Lord Merrill with Merrill via TV during his arraignment at the Isabella County Trial Courthouse, 300 N Main St. Merrill, a former CMU education professor, is charged with three felonies related to child pornography. (File Photo by Victoria Zegler)

On Nov. 13, 2012, Attorney Daniel O’Neil looks toward the family of William Lord Merrill with Merrill via TV during his arraignment at the Isabella County Trial Courthouse, 300 N Main St. Merrill, a former CMU education professor, is charged with three felonies related to child pornography. (File Photo by Victoria Zegler)

Disgraced Central Michigan University professor William Lord Merrill, 58, was sentenced to 70 months in prison Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Bay City for possession of child pornography, according to court documents.

Merrill, who taught, among other courses, classes on Internet censorship at CMU, was arrested for possession of more than 100,000 images of child porn on Dec. 19.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington.

He entered a guilty plea in March, admitting to receiving child pornography. In exchange for the guilty plea, federal prosecutors dropped a second charge of the same crime and another count of child pornography possession.

Merrill could have faced as much as 20 years in prison. Instead, he will serve just above the minimum sentence of 60 months.

William Lord Merrill

William Lord Merrill

He resigned from CMU in November after being suspended by the university.

According to court documents, Merrill knowingly received child pornography on or about July 26, 2003, and he said he knew the material constituted child pornography as defined by Title 18 in the United States Code 2256.

The FBI seized Merrill’s hard drive from his CMU office, in addition to the hard drive that contained child pornography.

Additionally, the U.S. attorney agreed Merrill assisted the authorities in his prosecution by notifying authorities in a timely manner that he intended to plead guilty.

When a warrant was issued on Nov. 5 to search Merrill’s Mount Pleasant home and office at CMU, items seized and disposed of included all computers, laptops, iPads, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, hard drives, phones, media storage drives, knives, handcuffs, USB flashdrives, iPods and prescription pills, according to court documents.

Merrill was charged Nov. 8 in Isabella County with a four-count felony, consisting of one count of possession of sexually abusive material, one count of distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime, according to court records.

The investigation began when CMU’s information technology staff noticed a large amount of data being transmitted from a single computer on the network.

After tracking the source of transmission, IT disconnected Merrill’s computer from the Internet in hopes that the user would contact IT for support, according to an affidavit. After further inspection of his computer, an IT worker discovered images and videos of child pornography.

Merrill was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Isabella County Trial Court on a four-count felony relating to child porn, but federal prosecutors served a warrant for his arrest. He was then sent to Bay City.

14 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    where is the injured party? under what authority are we liable to USC? (NONE). who is this ludington joker?

  2. 70 months? Title 18, or any title of the USC only applies to govt employees. Where are the injured parties? or party? Can the prosecutor provide THE plaintiff who was injured? Can the plaintiff ID the defendant as the offender? It’s a shell game. No victim. No plaintiff. No law – just puke code.

  3. Ludington is out of control. The first judge got it closer to right, but he was removed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are you people insane? Do you really think he should not have been convicted. U.S. Code applies because of the internet – getting porn from across state lines. That section of the code also states the person must be recognizable but that they don’t necessary have to know the actual identity of the individual. It clearly applies here and he was lucky to not get the maximum sentence.

  5. Fred Rubble says:

    Hey, take it easy on the guy, he is stuck in the world where results are NOT required ( i speak of the so-called judge ) , as for the offender, the first judge got it right. 1 day in jail, a few years on probation, and a ruined rep.

  6. Injured party. Are you people NUTS? He is getting off real easy for being the sicko that he is. His family actually is supporting him must be Catholics. I am sure the young kids that were injured for his sick pleasure are/will be screwed up for life. I personally know that.

  7. So can I get a refund from CMU since I had to buy this convicts book for a class?

  8. Bob the Builder says:

    Refund? From a Government college? Maria,, how do you type with your eyes rolled back in your spinning head while barfing up pea green soup? We need real courts, real judges, real law. Not this fantasy nebula of Houdini “law” . Where is Captain Kirk when you need him?

  9. FredSinatra says:

    CMU, let’s check ALL their computers. Let’s check ALL the computers of the popo, judges, and especially the sick prosecutors…I bet a SEPTIC TANK LOAD of illegal crap bubbles up.

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