Child pornography charges filed against Saint Mary's College janitor accused of downloading more than 100,000 files

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Photo Supplied/St. Joseph County Jail)

A former night janitor at Saint Mary’s College was arrested after police say he downloaded more than 100,000 child pornography files from the internet over several years, including while he was using the Wi-Fi at the college.

Luis Morales, 60, was charged with two counts of child exploitation and seven counts of possession of child pornography, which carries a combined sentence of up to 29 ½ years in prison.

Morales has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the college’s internal investigation and ordered not to visit the campus, according to Rich Nugent, college counsel for Saint Mary’s. 

A special deputy who investigates cyber crimes against children with the St. Joseph County Police Department said he was notified of child pornography downloads on the Saint Mary’s College Wi-Fi network on Jan. 22 and Jan. 25, according to court documents.

After working with the information technology staff at the college, the officer was able to pinpoint the source of the downloads to a computer belonging to Morales.

When officers executed a search warrant at his Mishawaka home, they found a computer and several flash drives and memory cards containing a total of more than 100 GB of child pornography photos and videos on them, court documents said. The children depicted in the images and videos ranged in age from infants to underage teens.

Police believe Morales downloaded the files over several years, but they are still investigating to determine when the downloads began. There’s no indication that local children were involved or harmed, but the investigation is ongoing.

Morales admitted to police in an interview that he intentionally downloaded the images police found on the devices and that he was the exclusive owner and user of the devices, court documents said.

Saint Mary’s College cooperated in the investigation and police don’t believe that any students, staff members or faculty were harmed by or connected to the downloads.

“The only connection to the college was Morales’s inappropriate use of the Internet,” Nugent said.

Morales is being held at the St. Joseph County Jail on $50,000 corporate surety or $5,000 cash bond.