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A man who taught journalism at Central Michigan University has been charged with possessing child pornography, according to a federal complaint filed Thursday.

Mark Ranzenberger is accused of possessing 1,000 images of child porn and is charged with possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.

In the federal criminal complaint, Ranzenberger is quoted as telling investigators that he thought “he had gotten rid of all that stuff.”

The investigation began when pornographic images were mistakenly displayed in class with his computer. In March, he quit his job at CMU with a handwritten note. He also quit the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission.

According to the complaint, that month a CMU student had reported to the school’s Faculty Personnel Services that Ranzenberger accessed files from a Dropbox account that “appeared to be thumbnails of pornographic images, which were seen by the entire class.”

University officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As part of a probe into employee misconduct, university staff remotely made a backup copy of his computer; a worker saw pictures that seemed to contain “nude images of minor children,” the court filing said.

A school police detective reviewed the images and saw they depicted “prepubescent girls posing naked in sexually suggestive poses or engaged in sexual acts.” Similar material was found in items seized through a state search warrant at Ranzenberger’s office, including “a text document describing year-by-year how to groom a child from birth until age 11 to participate in sexual acts,” the complaint stated.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children determined that 86 of the approximately 1,032 child porn images seized showed an identified child, according to court documents.

Ranzenberger couldn’t be reached for comment.

In talks with authorities, he said he used the images for self-gratification but denied ever sexually assaulting children.

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