SIU employee charged with possession of child pornography

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SIU employee charged with possession of child pornography

By Brian Munoz, Editor in Chief

A Southern Illinois University employee was charged with one count of child pornography in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Pejman Kamkarian, a university IT specialist, was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of possessing child pornography involving “an image of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor and a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.”

An arrest warrant was issued and executed at the beginning of March and was initially held in detention, according to court records. His detention hearing was set for March 12 in East St. Louis.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges in an initial arraignment held on March 8 before Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly.

Kamkarian was released through a $10,000 bond on March 12.

Shortly after, attorney Melissa A. Day withdrew from the case and public defender Mark C. Hunter was appointed.

Kamkarian’s final pretrial conference is set for 9:30 a.m. on May 1 in the Benton Courthouse before Judge Staci M. Yandle.

The case was previously assigned to Judge J. Phil Gilbert, chair for the SIU Board of Trustees, but he recused himself once he learned about the SIU connection of the case.

Kamkarian received a master’s degree in computer science from SIU in 2009, according to university records. His employment with the university was terminated on April 10 and was placed on leave since arrest, Rae Goldsmith, university spokeswoman, said. 

In his role as a Local Area Network Network Support Specialist, he makes about $38,400 according to salary information obtained through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Mark C. Hunter was not immediately available for requests for comment.

Thomas E. Leggans, assistant United States attorney, confirmed details of the case but could not make comment other than what was public information in court records.

Brian Munoz, Editor in Chief, can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz

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