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Professor charged with obtaining and distributing child pornography

Kirk Nesset admits to downloading thousands of files for two years

A+federal+search+warrant+was+executed+on+Oct.+1%2C+2014+authorizing+the+search+of+Kirk+Nesset%27s+residence+in+Meadville%2C+Pa.+His+computer+was+seized+and+approximately+550%2C000+jpg+or+movie+files+containing+child+pornography+were+found%2C+according+to+the+United+States+District+Court+For+The+Western+District+of+Pennsylvania+affidavit+in+support+of+criminal+complaint.
A federal search warrant was executed on Oct. 1, 2014 authorizing the search of Kirk Nesset's residence in Meadville, Pa. His computer was seized and approximately 550,000 jpg or movie files containing child pornography were found, according to the United States District Court For The Western District of Pennsylvania affidavit in support of criminal complaint.

A federal search warrant was executed on Oct. 1, 2014 authorizing the search of Kirk Nesset's residence in Meadville, Pa. His computer was seized and approximately 550,000 jpg or movie files containing child pornography were found, according to the United States District Court For The Western District of Pennsylvania affidavit in support of criminal complaint.

Meghan Hayman

Meghan Hayman

A federal search warrant was executed on Oct. 1, 2014 authorizing the search of Kirk Nesset's residence in Meadville, Pa. His computer was seized and approximately 550,000 jpg or movie files containing child pornography were found, according to the United States District Court For The Western District of Pennsylvania affidavit in support of criminal complaint.

Sam Stephenson and Meghan Hayman

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Updated at 7:07 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2014.

Kirk Nesset, professor of English, 57, was charged with one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography in United States District Court in Erie after federal agents executed a search warrant at his Meadville home on Wednesday, Oct. 1, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI.

Federal agents found thousands of images and videos of child pornography on Nesset’s hard drive. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, approximately 550,000 JPG or movie files were located in folders on his computer.

Nesset appeared in U.S. District Court Wednesday morning in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter. According to the Erie Times-News, Nesset was released on $10,000 unsecured bond on the condition that he wear an electronic monitoring device and have a curfew of 11 p.m.to 7 a.m.

The investigation began on Aug. 14, 2014, according to the affidavit, when FBI Special Agent Jimmie John Daniels of the FBI’s Phoenix, Ariz. office conducted an investigation in an undercover capacity on a Bittorrent Peer-to-Peer file sharing network. Upon further investigation, the IP address was traced to Nesset’s Arizona home and his billing address in Meadville.

 A federal search warrant was obtained on Sept. 30, and executed Wednsday, Oct 1. During the execution of the warrant, Nesset was interviewed by law enforcement officials and admitted to downloading child pornography material for the last two years, according to the affidavit.

The child pornography was organized by category on an external hard drive. Nesset admitted in the interview with law enforcement officials that he was aware that he was sharing information in a shared folder and that he knew “downloading child pornography was wrong,” according to the affidavit.

The college found out about the charges from Nesset himself. In a statement released from President James Mullen, the college did not hear of any allegations against Nesset until he told the school.

“This was the first we ever heard any such allegations,” Mullen said in an email to the school community. “To date, law-enforcement authorities have not contacted the college regarding this investigation. They will receive our full cooperation should they require it.”

Nesset answered the door at his Meadville home Thursday, Oct. 2, but declined to comment on the matter.

On Thursday morning Nesset gave his resignation and it was accepted by Allegheny Provost Linda DeMeritt.

“We have identified Matthew Ferrence and Kate McIntyre to take over the two creative writing classes and are still looking for an instructor for his FS101 class,” DeMeritt said.

Currently, Nesset only had one senior comprehensive project he was advising and the school is still looking for a replacement adviser. His other advisees have been assigned to other professors as well.

Nesset was also a regular instructor for the Black Forest Writing Workshop, a creative writing workshop held in Freiburg, Germany. The workshop organizers sent an email to former attendees on Thursday morning to formally sever ties with Nesset.

“As former participants in the program, we want to assure you that we have never had any complaints about [Nesset] of this nature, and upon hearing these charges we have immediately severed all ties with him,” said an email from the Black Forest Writing Workshop team to previous attendees.

Lauren Dominique, ’16, was in the middle of applying to the workshop with Nesset’s help just last week.

“I met him mid-week last week,” said Dominque. “I told him that I was interested in the Black Forest Writing Seminar that he is a professor on. So he started helping with me the application. I spent a lot of time in his office this week talking about what it’s like in Germany and what the seminar is and how people learn from it.”

Many students are talking about how this will affect the campus community as a whole from individual departments to smaller communities. Shaun Choffel, ’16, a Gator Guide, said the campus community has a responsibility to discuss how this might affect the campus community.

“I think every single department is going to have a discussion on that and get back to the students,” said Choffel. “I think the entire admissions department is going to have to have a meeting with the staff themselves and then with the Gator Guides separate as well. It’s each department’s responsibility to talk to us as students to say ‘here’s what happened, this is how we move forward and this is how we should respond to this if we’re asked about it.’”

According to the Meadville Tribune, Nesset is scheduled for a preliminary case hearing on Oct. 15.

15414806092_22d14bf8e5_oPhoto courtesy of Allegheny College

Nesset is an award-winning fiction writer who has worked at Allegheny College since 1995.Photo courtesy of Allegheny College

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14 Comments

14 Responses to “Professor charged with obtaining and distributing child pornography”

  1. Ryan the Pomeranian on October 2nd, 2014 10:38 am

    Does this mean no more Uncle John’s Band?

    [Reply]

    rlee64 Reply:

    Kirk replaced Jeffrey many years ago in Unkle John’s Band. If John wants to keep playing, he’ll find someone to jam with. I’m not so sure folks are going to keep supporting Kirk after all this.

    [Reply]

    M. S. Oname Reply:

    Ryan the Pomeranian is Nesset. That’s his dog.

    [Reply]

    Srsly, dude? Reply:

    Jam bands are the least of our problems now.

    [Reply]

  2. Graduate on October 2nd, 2014 11:29 am

    Blunt opinion: why is the school being reactive, rather than proactive? Our spokeswoman declines to comment, our dean and provost ask for resignation. Where is the schools investigation? Why not be proactive and outright fire him? There was a child daycare within the english building, the defendant is notorious for making advances to students. At a time when the school should be doing everything in it’s power defending its reputation and well-being, it’s sitting back doing equivocally nothing. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    [Reply]

    Graduate 2.0 Reply:

    Two child day cares, actually…

    [Reply]

  3. Gina B on October 2nd, 2014 9:47 pm

    a single man, physically fit, owns a cute little dog (anything more to add?)

    [Reply]

    Ryan P. Reply:

    I’m not really sure what any of that has to do with the details of the case, besides gross stereotyping.

    [Reply]

    Gina B Reply:

    he’s a typical and you and I are too. hindsight is kicking me in the teeth.

    [Reply]

  4. Graduate on October 3rd, 2014 12:35 am

    I had Nesset as an adviser and found him incredibly strange. However, what he did will not reflect on the college. He was a creep on his own time and unless things change, his relationship to the college shouldn’t be an issue. One sick man will not tarnish Allegheny’s name.

    [Reply]

  5. John Smith on October 3rd, 2014 9:50 am

    Nesset started there in my Freshman year, I have to agree with the assessments above…from the very beginning there were accusations of inappropriate advances on students, I was honestly shocked not by the allegations, but by the fact the cat still had a job there. We referred to him as “Creepy Kirk” even way back them, a nickname that has stuck with him as I understand it. Why oh why doesn’t the College take complaints against its professors seriously?

    [Reply]

    Srsly, dude? Reply:

    If only he was the only professor who hit on his students…

    Hell, if only Creepshow stuck to consenting adults…

    [Reply]

    Graduate 2.0 Reply:

    Given the fact that part of his reputation involved plying said students with alcohol beforehand, I don’t think he understood the concept of “consent,” adult or not…

    [Reply]

    Srsly, dude? Reply:

    I wasn’t trying to include that behavior in “consenting adults”. Finding men and women willing to engage in sexual behavior without drug/alcohol influence or threats really isn’t that hard; I’m sure even he had a few fully willing encounters.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Professor charged with obtaining and distributing child pornography