In July Robert Beattie, the former chairman of the Family and Community Medicine Department, was sentenced to 12 years in prison “for having 3,233 images and 100 videos of child porn involving children as young as 2 years old.”
In November 2015 Paul Bradley Meagher, a University of North Dakota campus police officer, was charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after investigators “found a laptop containing images of adults sexually abusing children as young as 4 years old.” Meagher’s arrest came just three months after Beattie’s arrest.
Now, just four days ago, Eric Hewitt Basile was arrested after investigators found “images depict male and female children between 1 and 3 years old being sexually assaulted by adult males” on his UND computer.
I think most of us are wondering just what in the world is going on with all the child pornography at UND? Are these cases connected? Is there a child porn ring at UND?
These are questions worth asking. So far these cases have been presented to the public as isolated incidents, but three men arrested for possession of child pornography at the same smallish university in a year?
That seems like something more than coincidence. Particularly considering that child pornography is typically distributed by networks of interested parties who share videos and images with one another.
But maybe it is coincidence, as unlikely as it seems.
I reached out to Lt. Danny Weigel, public information office for the UND campus police department, but he hasn’t responded to my questions about whether or not a connection between these cases exists.
That’s an answer the public deserves.
These men were in positions of trust at the university. One was a department chairman, another a member of faculty, and the third a member of the campus police department. One has been convicted of a heinous crime, and the other two are facing serious charges.
What we need to understand is what law enforcement, and the University of North Dakota, is doing to ensure there isn’t more of this activity taking place.