Watch CBS News

Villanova Professor Facing Child Pornography Charges

By Mark Abrams and Walt Hunter

RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) -- Police say Villanova professor Christopher Haas, 60, has been charged with possessing child pornography.

Haas allegedly had over 400 images of child pornography on his computer. Authorities say the investigation began in 2012.

Radnor Township Police say Haas is in Delaware County Prison following his arrest on charges related to a nearly four-year investigation by federal homeland security officials of his computer activity at home.

Radnor Township Lt. Andy Block said "Dr. Haas was charged with 415 counts of sexual abuse of children and the possession of child pornography falls under that section of the crimes code, the Pennsylvania Crimes Code."

Calling the allegations "sad," and "disappointing," Block explained Radnor Police charged Dr. Haas on Monday after Villanova security officials observed him viewing child porn on a computer in a campus hall.

Police were tipped by campus security personnel about Haas' inappropriate use of a computer on campus last week. But, it was police follow-up with federal homeland security personnel that brought to light the federal probe of Haas' activities downloading images from a website.

Federal authorities turned over information to the Delaware County DA's office for these charges. As to the Villanova computer activity, police will only say that is part of an ongoing investigation and more charges could be filed. Haas has been removed from the classroom and barred from the campus.

Those students, busy celebrating the Villanova basketball teams entry in the Final Four, were surprised to learn about the arrest.

Villanova issued the following statement on the arrest of Haas:

'Villanova's IT security system detected that someone at the University was accessing suspicious content online from a campus computer in a common area. The University took immediate action, commencing an internal investigation to determine the exact nature of the content and who was involved. As soon as Villanova identified the individual as a University faculty member and the nature of the content he viewed as potentially criminal, it quickly notified the Radnor Police Department and turned over all evidence. The University is horrified by the behavior of this individual and has relieved the faculty member of his teaching duties. He is not permitted to return to campus. The University has an unwavering commitment to a safe campus for all community members, and illegal, offensive and dangerous behaviors will not be tolerated.'

Haas, after waiving a preliminary hearing Thursday morning is being held in prison, police say, undergoing a mental health evaluation.

The suspect's attorney, contacted by phone, says the arrest is a "sad situation," and Haas is "horrified" about the charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.