Prison time for former UMR professor in child porn case

March 7, 2017 GMT

Christopher Blake Dezutter, a former chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota Rochester who was fired after a 2015 conviction for possession of child pornography, has been sent to prison for more than four years.

The sentence comes after a second set of porn charges were brought against Dezutter in October.

On Friday, Olmsted County District Court Judge Christina Stevens handed down a prison term of 50 months for Dezutter’s conviction on one count of possession of child pornography in the latest case. He’d pleaded guilty to the charge in December; in exchange, three identical counts were dismissed.

He received concurrent terms of 30 months, 25 months, 20 months and 15 months for violating the terms of the four 2015 convictions. Dezutter was given credit for 244 days already served and must register as a predatory offender.

Dezutter, 49, was last arrested Sept. 12, almost a year to the day after he was sentenced on the first set of child pornography charges.

Conditions of his Sept. 16, 2015, sentencing included not owning or operating any device that allowed for Internet capability, as well as not accessing or using the Internet unless approved in advance by his probation officer.

On Sept. 12, 2016, Dezutter’s probation officer conducted a probation search of his apartment in the 300 block of Sixth Avenue Southeast. A preliminary examination of an iPad revealed several images that the officer believed to be child pornography, and Dezutter was arrested.

Dezutter told authorities he’d bought the device a couple of weeks earlier, and admitted he’d downloaded photos that were of minors, but he believed they were lawful images. He also admitted visiting a pornographic website, court documents say, but claimed it was for adult porn.

A forensic analysis of the iPad showed Dezutter had been using an application that permits the user to access the Internet anonymously. According to the analyst’s report, the device contained 143 images, including many images of adult pornography and what would be considered child “erotica”: sexualized images of children not meeting the definition of illegal pornographic work.

Additionally, there were at least four images of what appear to be minors involved in pornographic work.

In the first case, Dezutter pleaded guilty in May 2015 to four counts of felony possession of pornographic work. In exchange, six identical counts and one count of felony dissemination of pornographic work were dismissed.

He was one of seven men arrested in February 2015 after a months-long child porn investigation by national and local authorities.

All of the cases were brought to the attention of local authorities by investigators with the national Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which saw the activity during its own undercover investigations.

Dezutter was initially sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to serve 120 days in jail, with credit for 10 days served. Terms of his probation included registering as a predatory offender and successful completion of sex offender education/treatment or other programming and 100 hours of community work service.