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Two plead guilty in Massachusetts to child porn, traveling abroad for sex with minor

Two men pleaded guilty in Massachusetts on Thursday to charges in separate cases, one involving viewing child pornography on a commercial flight and the other for traveling to the Dominican Republic for sex with an underage girl, authorities said.

One defendant, Grant D. Smith, 48, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty in East Boston District Court to a child pornography charge and received a suspended sentence of 2½ years, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.

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Smith’s lawyer, James Budreau, declined to comment.

A fellow passenger on a flight from Utah to Boston in November of 2011 noticed Smith watching child pornography on a laptop, according to authorities. Massachusetts State Police arrested him at Logan International Airport.

Investigators found obscene photos on the laptop of girls between the ages of 5 and 14, according to prosecutors.

Smith taught science and engineering at the University of Utah at the time of his arrest and was placed on leave. He resigned in February 2012, a school spokesman said.

Smith has no prior record and will avoid jail time if he adheres to several probationary conditions for the next five years, said Jake Wark, Conley’s spokesman.

As part of his probation, he must continue sex offender treatment and have no unsupervised contact with minors, except for his own children. Contact with them will be determined by the court, the statement said.

Also Thursday, Conrad Gallant, 61, of Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty in federal court in Worcester to charges that he repeatedly traveled to the Dominican Republic over a one-year period beginning in early 2011 to have sex with a girl, starting when she was 14, according to officials and court records.

The girl told investigators that she brought other girls around the same age to him for sex, an affidavit shows.

Gallant’s plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of between five and 14 years, though a judge can impose a maximum term of 60 years at sentencing in June, according to a court filing. His lawyers could not be reached.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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