FSU Employee Arrested for Distributing Child Pornography in Leon County

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 9.28.2010 12:02am by Amy Long

Michael E. Sullivan, a Florida State teaching assistant won't be returning to the front of the class anytime soon. Instead the 49-year-old's next appearance will be in front of a judge facing 46 counts of child pornography.

Sullivan is a Ph.D. student in FSU's English Department and a tutor in the school's Digital Studio- Some students in the English department say it eery to think it's someone who they may have interacted with.

"Pedophilia doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter what profession it is or what socio-economic level you are, you're going to find that crime at all levels. I walk these halls every day so I'm still kind of, kind of shocked." says Vincent Dale an English Major at FSU

Sullivan was arrested Monday 9-27 night after detectives searched his Pensacola Street apartment. Deputies say some of the photos show adults having sex with infants and arrest papers say Sullivan searched for them by typing in the word "bib-cam."

DET ROB WALLER, LCSO Internet Crimes says, "We don't view these as just images or just videos, these are actual live children that's why the endeavor to identify them is such a vast thing."

Sullivan admitted to downloading the videos for about two years and says he only did it as part of "study" on age of consent.

Waller says "(Sullivan had) Mostly videos, I would say all videos. I don't think he had any still images, he was a video collector."

Sullivan is the third person arrested and charged with Child Pornography in the month of September alone.

LSCO says they are still going through external hard drives and cds that they found around Sullivan's apartment that could lead to more counts against him.

UPDATED 9.28.2010 3:30pm by Julie Montanaro

An FSU spokesman says Sullivan is a graduate teaching assistant in the English Department and a tutor in the department's Digital Studio.

Spokesman Barry Ray says Sullivan is a second year PhD student who was teaching one class this semester.

Ray says Sullivan has been reassigned to non-classroom duties until this investigation is complete.

Court records show Sullivan made his first appearance before a judge this morning. The judge set his bond at $50,000.

Arrest papers say Sullivan told deputies he had been downloading the videos for more than two years as a "study" interest. Arrest papers say he told deputies he was interested in the "argument over the age of consent."

Arrest papers say Sullivan admitted that a few of the estimated 1000 files on his computer depicted adults sexually abusing infants. Sullivan says he often used the term "Bibcam" to search for photos he wished to study, according to arrest papers.

UPDATED 9.28.2010 3:30pm by Julie Montanaro

An FSU employee is arrested and accused of dozens of counts of child pornography.

His apartment is just blocks from the Leon County Sheriff's Office and detectives believe he was using his neighbor's wireless connection to trade porn.

49 year old Michael E. Sullivan was arrested Monday afternoon.

Deputies say they were searching his apartment at Palm West on Pensacola Street when Sullivan arrived home with his backpack over his shoulder.

Deputies say Sullivan has an extensive collection of child porn videos.

Right now he's charged with 46 counts, but that could increase when deputies finish reviewing all the discs they found in his apartment.

Deputies say Sullivan was using his neighbor's wireless Internet to share the files. A search of his neighbor's apartment yielded no evidence of any child porn, detectives say.

Michael E. Sullivan lists his employer as Florida State University. We are awaiting information from FSU to determine what his job is at Florida State and what contact he had with students.

(PRESS RELEASE) Tallahassee, Florida --

The North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has arrested Michael E. Sullivan, 49 and charged him with distributing child pornography. Sullivan became the subject of an undercover
investigation after his computer was located on a file sharing network while possessing illegal files.
When ICAC task force members received pornographic files containing videos of prepubescent and
adolescent children from Sullivan’s computer, they determined the computer’s location through
subpoenas and witness interviews.

On September 27, 2010 members of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement served a search warrant at 2325 West Pensacola Street #212. During the search
warrant, detectives and agents recovered computer equipment, computer hardware and media
storage devices. Forensic examination of the computer equipment is ongoing and additional
charges are likely. Sullivan was taken to the Leon County Jail.

His charges include: Obscene Material-Possess WIT Promote Photo Movie Sex Performance of a Child (46 counts)

WCTV will be bringing you details.

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  • by EG Location: Hawaii on Dec 9, 2010 at 04:13 PM
    I know this sounds crazy, but I knew Michael when he lived in Hawaii and I believe it could be a study. I know child pornography is terrible and awful. I don't agree with his "study methods" for this study, but Michael always picked research topics that were considered to be on the fringe. Often he would come up with really great research, even though the topics were unconventional. I'm not trying to defend his possession of the pornography, but I do believe him if he says it was for a research study.
  • by None Ya Location: Tally on Oct 8, 2010 at 07:52 AM
    @ WindowOne: "he's a good man" ?? and @ phd guy: "Are YOU Michael Sullivan?" NO ONE would say that in his defense. RESEARCH FOR WHAT? BS! Be glad I'm not the judge or jury. The details made me physically sick & I could only think of my precious little baby girl and the fact that there are so many SICK DISTURBED people like this that we don't even know about in addition to like the 3 they caught just SEPTEMBER alone. BABIES. Not BABY DOLLS. BABIES! I'm just sickened/disgusted, and I pray justice is swift and the penalty is life but of course he'll be in a neighborhood near us soon enough.
  • by WindowOne Location: Tally on Sep 30, 2010 at 06:02 PM
    Look, I can't convince anyone to give Mike the benefit of the doubt, but I'll give it to him. I just hope the courts prove him innocent. Aside from the accusation, he's a good man.
  • by Jonathan Location: tallahassee on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:27 PM
    This guy was my teacher last year! he taught my enc 1101 class. I thought he was a nice guy and he was a good teacher. Just cant believe this is true. pretty creepy
  • by PEDO Location: PLAYGROUND on Sep 29, 2010 at 02:00 PM
    pedomania cannot be cured...they have to be disposed of.
  • by disgusted on Sep 29, 2010 at 09:32 AM
    all 5 of the guys arrested need serious mental help this guy is the worst. Sex with infants can result in death of the child or massive surgery to repair their little bodies and they will never be whole. Catch these people put them in the pen the inmates will take care of them. Pray for those poor children.
  • by Nicole Location: Tally on Sep 29, 2010 at 06:41 AM
    Adults having sex with infants, this is an outrage! Sick, just sick! What kind of disgusting pervert would do that???
  • by phd guy Location: fsu on Sep 29, 2010 at 06:15 AM
    he was only doing it for research. honest.
  • by Sara Location: Tallahassee on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:37 AM
    I am nauseous... videos of adults having sex with infants!?! FRY HIM and ANYONE THEY CAN IDENTIFY IN THE VIDEOS!!!!!!!!!!
  • by pops on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:06 AM
    Got that piece of trash, now trace down the sources that preform the acts and shoot them all.
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