A prominent professor from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida, has been arrested on child pornography charges.
Professor Steven Kistulentz has been charged with two counts of Intentional Viewing of Child Pornography, and ten counts of Possession of Child Pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The sheriff’s office also noted that “Kistulentz is currently employed at Saint Leo University as the director of the graduate program in creative writing and associate professor of English.”
“Detectives began their investigation after receiving information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that child exploitation material was being uploaded via the social media/messenger application Kik,” Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office added.
“Through various investigative techniques, detectives were able to identify the suspect as 55-year-old Steven Kistulentz,” the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities also revealed that they were able to obtain a search warrant for Kistulentz’s home, where they seized his electronic devices, adding that “additional charges are pending once the forensic analysis of the electronics is complete.”
The sheriff’s office added that the professor has admitted to being the owner of the Kik account in question, as well as “receiving and sending files involving child pornography.”
Kistulentz, who was arrested on May 17, is currently being held in Pinellas County Jail.
Saint Leo University reacted to Kistulentz’s arrest in a statement, saying, “He will have no contact with students,” adding, “We are awaiting further information as this matter is being investigated,” according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times.
The professor’s biography on the university’s website has since been taken down, the report added. Kistulentz has been placed on administrative leave, and his access to the campus has been suspended.
Kistulentz is the latest educator to be charged with child pornography.
Last week, Virginia middle school teacher Kristine Knizner was charged in connection to the alleged possession of child porn after an investigation was launched recently.
In March, a Missouri elementary school teacher was arrested on child pornography allegations.
In December, Louisiana State University (LSU) professor Gerald Myers was placed on administrative leave after being arrested in connection with multiple charges, which included child pornography, sexual abuse of an animal, and possession of marijuana.