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Detroit — A University of Michigan researcher who works with animals was charged in federal court Tuesday with distributing child pornography, including some that involved bestiality.

Michael Zeidler, 48, of Ann Arbor also was accused of installing a hidden camera in his bathroom and secretly filming exchange students who lived in his home since 2012.

Zeidler, a research lab specialist who works with gene edited mice and rats, was charged after FBI agents searched his university lab and home.

He is being held without bond pending a detention hearing Wednesday. Zeidler's court-appointed lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Zeidler, who has worked at the university since 1999, has been suspended, university spokeswoman Mary Masson said. His salary is $64,890, according to a university database.

"His job did not involve patient care," Masson wrote in an email. "We have cooperated fully with law enforcement on this investigation and will continue to do so."

The investigation started last month when an undercover detective downloaded more than 600 videos and images of child erotica and child pornography from an Internet user who had distributed the files on a peer-to-peer network.

The files included a video of a man sexually assaulting a child who was crying and gagged.

One photo showed a child with an obscene statement written on her body.

The detective tracked the user to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. University officials helped identify the user as Zeidler, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court.

Federal agents searched his home and lab and interviewed Zeidler.

He admitted downloading child pornography since 2012 and using a peer-to-peer network to collect the images and videos, FBI Special Agent Susan Lucas wrote in the criminal complaint.

Zeidler also said he installed a secret camera in his home and recorded exchange students using the bathroom.

"He said he saved these recordings to his laptop ...," the FBI agent wrote.

rsnell@detroitnews.com 

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews

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