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6/23/2003
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Law Professor Sentenced In Child-Porn Case

Samuels gets six months in jail in controversial case that began when IT workers found illicit images on his office PC.

A former New York Law School professor who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography was sentenced today to six months in jail and 10 years' probation, according to a newspaper report.

Edward Samuels, an expert in copyright law, was a tenured member of New York Law School's staff when two IT workers discovered images of naked girls while troubleshooting his office computer in June of 2002. Following Samuels' arrest, a search of his home turned up tens of thousands of images of child pornography. In April, Samuels pleaded guilty, then resigned from his position.

The two IT workers who discovered the illicit images, Dorothea Perry and Robert Gross, were fired within five months of reporting what they found to their supervisor. Perry and Gross filed a $15 million lawsuit in January against New York Law School and Collegis, the computer outsourcing company that employed them, claiming they were dismissed in retaliation for reporting the child pornography and complaining about it. Officials of New York Law School and Collegis have denied any connection between the two developments (see "Troubling Discovery," http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=9800082).

In May, Collegis filed a motion in New York County Supreme Court to have the case dismissed. A decision on the motion is pending.

Prompted by the case, New York state Sen. John Sampson (D-19th district) said Monday he plans to introduce a statute to New York's existing whistleblower law that would protect employees who report child pornography in the workplace. Under current New York law, employees are protected for reporting activity that represents a danger to public health, but Sampson says the law needs to be broader. He plans to seek sponsorship for the statute when New York's senate returns to session.

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