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Utah professor suspended after child porn arrest at Logan

A University of Utah professor has been placed on administrative leave after his arrest Saturday at Logan Airport on charges of viewing child pornography on a flight from Salt Lake City, the university said in a statement yesterday.

Grant D. Smith, 47, of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, was apprehended after a passenger seated behind his first-class seat on the Delta flight took a picture of what he was doing and sent an e-mail to a relative in Arizona that said to contact police, State Police spokesman David Procopio said yesterday.

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State Police troopers met his flight, searched his laptop, and found “disturbing images of child pornography,’’ Procopio said.

Smith, who will be arraigned today at East Boston District Court, is a professor of material science and engineering and an adjunct professor of chemical engineering at the university.

The university statement said that Smith has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

“Professor Smith deserves a full and fair investigation into this issue,’’ the statement said. “The University of Utah, however, has no tolerance for the viewing or possessing of child pornography by any of its employees, regardless of where it occurs. As a result, if the allegations against Professor Smith are found to be true, the University will immediately seek Professor Smith’s dismissal.’’

Procopio said the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is run by the State Police and specializes in investigation of online sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, has joined the investigation.

He said that State Police have also contacted Utah authorities.

“It’s sort of an insidious evil network of people out there trading and sharing and disseminating this material, and often this crosses state or even country lines,’’ he said.

Bail was set at $15,000 cash, but Smith is awaiting his arraignment in a jail cell, according to Procopio.

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