Former UR writing instructor and graduate student Gilbert Kirton, who is ensnared in a child pornography investigation, will be prosecuted by the U.S. government. Though he was charged by the state with one felony count of possession on Oct. 1, he appeared in federal court on Oct. 16 to face two federal charges of possession and receiving or distributing child porn. Kirton remains in Monroe County Jail after a detention hearing set for Monday was postponed.
At the hearing, prosecutors will argue that he is a danger to the community, while his defense attorney, Peter Pullano, will ask if there are conditions under which he could be released pending trial.
Among the contents of Kirton’s hard drive were images of a 3-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy being sodomized, a new court document alleges.
An investigation by Pennsylvania authorities into convicted child molester Brian Keith Benner revealed the IP addresses of people with whom Benner traded images and has led to 16 arrests nationwide and one in Italy.
‘Benner was charged with sexual abuse of children involving the creation, distribution and possession of child pornography,” the Montgomery County, Pa. district attorney said in a statement.
Because one of those IP addresses was traced to a campus dormitory, UR Security assisted the New York State Police with the investigation into Kirton.
Kirton dismantled his computer after the department’s director of graduate studies, Thomas Hahn, mentioned that he had received a call from UR Security Investigator Dan Lafferty about Kirton’s computer use on campus.
Hahn has stepped down as dean, but there is no public evidence that he knew the context of the investigation.
‘When [Kirton] found out he was being investigated, he assumed it was for child pornography,” federal investigator Matthew Dellapenta wrote.
If convicted, Kirton faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
Rosiak is a member of the class of 2009.