A California professor at the University of the Pacific has been indicted for allegedly trafficking images of child sexual abuse after online conversations with an undercover FBI agent.
Rodger Githens, who lives in West Sacramento, was accused of trying to meet a little girl for “sexual purposes” once he conversed with an FBI agent who was posing as a man offering his niece, KTVU reported Friday.
California professor charged in horrifying child sex abuse sting https://t.co/Cqvj9Fer0a pic.twitter.com/amBWdArT7z
— New York Post (@nypost) April 25, 2023
The United States District Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of California detailed the case in a press release Thursday:
According to court documents, in late March 2023, Githens, using the profile “Tall laid back,” initiated contact with an account on the Grindr app controlled by an undercover FBI agent. Githens encouraged the undercover FBI agent to establish an account with the Telegram app, since it was considered more secure. Githens several times discussed traveling to Fresno to meet the agent and a supposed 7-year-old niece for sexual purposes, but law enforcement served a search warrant at Githens’s residence on April 19, 2023, and seized multiple electronic devices. Agents discovered numerous Telegram chats on Githens’s phone, including several in which he was exchanging and commenting on videos of young children being sexually abused.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Githens, and he was charged with receipt and distribution of images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the office said.
While allegedly planning to meet in Fresno, Githens reportedly said he would bring the girl candy and an Ariel doll, per Breitbart News.
During the online conversations, Githens allegedly revealed he is married to a man whose young nephew he molested once in the past, the outlet continued.
The University of the Pacific professor has since been placed on indefinite administrative leave, according to reports.
The school’s website says it was founded in 1851. “Established by pioneering Methodist ministers, it remains the only Methodist-affiliated university in California,” the site notes.
“If convicted, Githens faces five to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a lifetime of supervised release, and forfeiture of any property used to facilitate commission of the offense,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.