Former UCA economics professor pleads guilty to child porn allegations

Noel Campbell, a former University of Central Arkansas economics professor, pleaded guilty Monday to 13 counts of child porn. He will be sentenced next week.

 

Campbell, 47, previously pleaded not guilty in April 2015 to more than 300 counts of child porn. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to 13 and no contest to 173 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting child sex.

A four-day jury trial was set to begin Aug. 14. However, Campbell, along with his attorney Jeffrey Rosenzwig and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jordan Crews, met in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Monday so that Campbell could plea out in a negotiated plea deal.

The prosecution agreed to drop 124 counts against Campbell as part of the negotiated plea. Crews said the counts against Campbell that were dropped were thumbnail depictions, or the smaller images used to help identify the contents of a file.

Rosenzwig said Campbell was pleading no contest to files that did appear to be opened.

“The ones you’re pleaded guilty to, the amount of data [showed] they had been opened for at least a brief period of time,” he asked of his client as Campbell sat next to the judge, facing the court.

“Yes,” Campbell replied, indicating he was pleading guilty to possessing 13 counts of child porn.

Before the sentencing hearing began, Campbell’s wife stood next to him, rubbing his back in comfort with tears in her eyes and Campbell discussed the upcoming proceedings with Rosenzwig.

Distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting child sex is a Class C felony that could carry three to 10 years of punishment with each count.

The defense and prosecution agreed on a 75-year sentence that would also bear court costs and other fees.

While both parties were able to reach an agreement regarding Campbell’s sentence, Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson will make the ultimate ruling regarding Campbell’s sentence next week and could potentially sentence him to a longer term of imprisonment.

“You appear to understand what you’re doing,” Clawson said as he addressed Campbell before the court Monday. “I’m going to consider your [no contest plea] as guilty for sentencing reasons.”

Campbell is set to appear in circuit court for a sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. Aug. 16. He remains free on a $25,000 bond until that time.

Background

Campbell resigned from his position and tenure as an economics professor at UCA on April 14, 2015.

Authorities suspected Campbell had child porn on his university computer after a complaint by a UCA information technology (IT) department employee reported possible child pornography on Campbell’s state-issued computer.

The UCA Police Department (UCAPD) viewed the photographs in question and arrested Campbell on April 2, 2015. Officers also took Campbell’s personal laptop “that was hooked to the state issued monitor” and his cell phone, according to an affidavit.

 

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