Affidavit: University of Texas professor exchanged child porn with woman in Tennessee

National

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A University of Texas employee faces child porn charges, according to Williamson County Jail records.

Mario Villarreal, who worked at the Salem Center for Policy, was charged with five counts of possession of child pornography, jail records say.

He was booked into jail Friday.

In a statement sent Monday evening, a spokesperson for UT’s McCombs School of Business confirmed Villarreal was an ‘adjunct faculty member’ but has now been placed on leave pending the investigation:

The University of Texas at Austin learned Friday, October 2, 2020, that the Criminal Investigations Division in the Office of the Texas Attorney General arrested an adjunct faculty member, Mario Villarreal, on charges related to child pornography. A managing director at the Salem Center for Policy at the McCombs School of Business, Villareal was immediately placed on investigation leave and removed from all teaching and administrative duties.

An arrest affidavit for Villarreal says the Office of the Texas Attorney General was investigating him. Investigators with the office were contacted by police in Tennessee who found child pornography at a woman’s home in Knoxville during a search warrant.

The affidavit says the woman admitted to possessing child porn and one of her online/phone sex business clients, who went by the alias “Marco,” had sent her child porn within the past five years.

The affidavit says the woman reported she would communicate with Marco through a website called niteflirt.com. Marco’s account from the website and the IP address used to register the account was traced back to Villarreal, the affidavit said.

During their online conversations, the woman said Villarreal reportedly described sexually assaulting children on multiple occasions, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said child pornography was allegedly found on Villarreal’s computer at his Round Rock home during a search.

The university said it did a criminal background check on Villarreal when he was hired last year, but no prior criminal conduct or charges were found. The school said it’s cooperating with law enforcement as they investigate the “disturbing allegations.”

Jail records say Villarreal’s bond was posted.

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