SUBSCRIBE NOW Just 99¢ for your first month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

UND aviation professor accused of having child porn

A UND professor was arrested Thursday after police said they found child pornography on his university-owned computer, making him the third UND staff member to face child porn charges.

2806784+0B4mGrQ-jaMMQTXE3RHdOUUxaVlU.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

A UND professor was arrested Thursday after police said they found child pornography on his university-owned computer, making him the third UND staff member to face child porn charges.

Eric Hewitt Basile, 37, appeared Friday afternoon in Grand Forks District Court via video from the Grand Forks Correctional Facility on eight charges of possession of certain materials prohibited, all Class C felonies. He faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count.

On Thursday, UND administration requested a search of Basile's computer in Ryan Hall, according to documents. UND Police learned Basile was suspected of using his work computer to facilitate inappropriate relationships with students.

He was placed on administrative leave that day.

A North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations agent was brought in to conduct a forensic examination of the computer. That examination revealed child pornography, which led to a Grand Forks District Judge signing a search warrant, according to court documents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Detectives from the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, UND Police Department, BCI and Homeland Security executed a search warrant on Basile's residence on Level Plains Circle in Grand Forks. Agents seized multiple digital devices, which were examined for criminal content by the BCI.

According to court documents:

In an interview with detectives, Basile admitted to having child porn 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 has been an associate professor in the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences since 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 UND staff member to face child pornography charges in the past year.

On Friday, 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

He will be sentenced Nov. 29.

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.

UND President Mark Kennedy shared a message with students and staff Friday regarding Basile's arrest.

"I am troubled to inform you that on Thursday, September 8, Eric Basile, a faculty member in the College of Aerospace Sciences, was arrested on eight counts of certain materials prohibited," the statement said. "During a search and investigation by law enforcement, child pornography was found on his work-issued computer. Both the University and I take this seriously and the University is cooperating fully with the investigation. Mr. Basile has been placed on administrative leave. The conditions of his administrative leave include a ban from campus property and a no contact order with UND students, faculty and staff."

The investigation on Basile is ongoing and anyone who has concerns or further information regarding the case should call UND Police at (701) 777-0846.

Related Topics: CRIME
What to read next
If signed into law by the governor, the legislation would prohibit life insurance, long-term care insurance or disability insurance carriers from declining or limiting coverage to living organ or marrow donors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolating COVID patients for at least five days, preferably in a separate room with access to their own bathroom, as well as diligent mask-wearing for both patient and caregiver. But for many families, those aren’t easy options. But take heart: Scientists say there is still a lot people can do to protect their families, chief among them improving ventilation and filtration of the air.
When you have one of those mornings that starts in a frenzy and throws you off your game, you might feel a little off kilter the rest of the day. Those episodes can quickly derail a fitness and healthy eating plan. In this "Health Fusion" column, the Goal Getters Project shares a great tip that may help keep you on track in the morning so you can have a successful day.
Don't be afraid to create a DIY container garden full of flowers. There are no rules! Whatever plants you pick will help brighten your days and lift your mood. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares three tips for a stunning pot of flowers.