Former University of Virginia Dean Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges
Michael G. Morris Pleads Guilty to Three Child Pornography Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 21, 2014|
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—A Crozet, Virginia man who was previously indicted on child pornography charges pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg to three charges related to the trafficking of images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.
Michael G. Morris, 50, of Crozet, Virginia, who used the screen name “Funshooter2006” on a file sharing program, was indicted in 2013 and pled guilty today to two counts of distributing or receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. During the offenses charged, Morris was employed as an associate dean at the University of Virginia’s McIntyre School of Commerce.
“Mr. Morris traded explicit images of children engaged in sexual conduct in the dark corners of the Internet,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “We must continue to fight child exploitation through a comprehensive approach of vigorous enforcement, community education, and parent involvement. In a time of ever-expanding technological advances, we must all be vigilant in keep children safe online.”
“Morris’ plea today is a small consolation for what these children endure while being victimized. I am proud of the work that our agents along with the task force officer from the Charlottesville Police Department did in this case. The Richmond-based Child Exploitation Task Force will continue to marshal their resources and bring to justice those that would harm our children,” said Adam Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division.
According to evidence presented during the plea hearing, a law enforcement officer, acting in an undercover capacity, successfully downloaded videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct that Morris had made available to him on a publicly available file-sharing site on January 6, 2012 and March 19, 2013. Investigators recovered computers and other items that contained child pornography during a search of his home on November 6, 2013. While Morris’ preference was apparently adolescent females and older minors, his collection included pornographic images of prepubescent minors and images depicting bondage.
At sentencing, Morris faces a sentence of between five and 20 years in prison on the distribution and receipt charges and a sentence of up to 10 years in prison on count three.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlottesville Police Department, and the Department of Justice’s High Technology Investigative Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Healey and Herbrina Sanders, a trial attorney with the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, are prosecuting the case for the United States.