Child pornography case against former UND prof goes federal
Child pornography charges against a former UND aviation professor have been transferred from state to federal court. Eric Hewitt Basile, 37, was charged with eight Class C felony counts of possession of certain materials prohibited in Grand Forks...
Child pornography charges against a former UND aviation professor have been transferred from state to federal court.
Eric Hewitt Basile, 37, was charged with eight Class C felony counts of possession of certain materials prohibited in Grand Forks District Court on Sept. 8 after a UND administration request for a computer search revealed multiple images of children between 1 and 3 years old being sexually assaulted.
In November, charges in Grand Forks County District Court were dismissed and federal charges were leveled against Basile in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota’s Eastern Division, court records show. Basile has been charged with one count of receipt and distribution of materials containing child pornography and three counts of possession of materials containing child pornography.
A federal jury trial for Basile has been set in Fargo for April 11, with a pretrial motion deadline of March 10.
According to court documents filed in Grand Forks, in an interview with detectives, Basile admitted to having child pornography images and videos. He said he had collected about 100 images and videos from a website and stored them in a Dropbox account. Basile also told officers he deleted the folder containing the images once he was placed on administrative leave.
Detectives said they were able to uncover eight images on Basile's computer. These images depict male and female children between 1 and 3 years old being sexually assaulted by adult males, according to the affidavit.
Basile became an associate professor in the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences in 2014. He taught basic attitude instrument flying, general aviation operations and management, aviation safety and IFR regulations and procedures.
Basile earned his master's degree in aviation from UND in 2013, according to his university staff page. He was elected to UND's Senate in 2015. He also served on the assessment committee, scholarship committee and as a faculty adviser to the Student Aviation Management Association.
Basile is the third former UND employee to face federal child porn charges in recent years.
In September, former UND Police Officer Paul Bradley Meagher pleaded guilty in U.S. Federal Court in Fargo to one count of receiving child porn and two counts of possessing child porn. He had been collecting more than 100,000 images and videos of child porn since early 2006, according to prosecutors.
He will be sentenced Feb. 6.
In July, Robert William Beattie, a former UND chairman of the Family and Community Medicine Department, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for having 3,233 images and 100 videos of child porn.