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Kiddie porn brings down prof

Monday, February 28, 2005

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  • Eighteen months ago, Marc LeMaguer was at the top of his career

    Eighteen months ago, Marc LeMaguer was at the top of his career

Written by Guelph Mercury

GUELPH - Eighteen months ago, Marc LeMaguer was at the top of his career, a renowned food scientist who divided his time between work as a University of Guelph professor and delivering lectures around the world.

Yesterday, the disgraced academic stood before a Guelph Superior Court judge and quietly admitted possessing a large amount of explicit child pornography. LeMaguer said only one word - "Guilty" - during the 45-minute court appearance. He will be sentenced April 18.

With his wife and daughter sitting in the front row of the cavernous courtroom, LeMaguer showed little emotion as assistant Crown attorney Judith MacDonald read an agreed statement of facts, including descriptions of the horrible photos and video images found on LeMaguer's home and office computers.

LeMaguer, 65, admitted he had more than 2,700 items of child porn at his home and on-campus office when he was arrested in October 2003.


Justice Cas Herold heard the pornographic material consisted primarily of photographs and depicted victims from toddler age to early teens involved in all manner of explicit sex with adults. Herold did not look at any of the materials filed, accepting defence counsel David Smith's concession they were child pornography.

Court heard in August 2003, Brad Dolomount, a computer technician at the university, was assigned to repair LeMaguer's office computer because the Internet connection was not working. While investigating the computer, Dolomount found child pornography on the hard drive.

Assistant Crown attorney MacDonald said Dolomount told his supervisor, who instructed him to repair the computer and leave the material intact.

University spokesman Chuck Cunningham told the Mercury later yesterday that Dolomount did not specify in his initial complaint he believed the computer contained illegal material, but rather reported there was "something wrong" with the professor's machine.

Several weeks after that incident, Dolomount was again assigned to repair the computer's Internet connection and discovered more child pornography, including a video of a girl, approximately six years old, holding a teddy bear while engaged in intercourse with a man.

This time, Dolomount told the acting chair of the food science department and police were notified, eventually finding graphic child pornography on the computer.

LeMaguer was in Thailand at the time. He was arrested Oct. 2 as he walked to his office. MacDonald said at the time of his arrest, LeMaguer was carrying a copy of a story titled "Clair in New York," which described a seven-year-old girl engaging in oral sex with adult men. The story had been downloaded from the Internet.

LeMaguer's Hazelwood Drive home was searched later that day and police seized a laptop computer and computer diskettes.

In total, police found 2,695 still images, nine digital video clips, three stories and one printed image of child pornography, as well as more than 1,200 images of nude or partially-clothed children, court heard. Police also found evidence LeMaguer frequently visited Internet child pornography sites.

MacDonald said during the investigation, Dolomount told police he had also seen child porn on LeMaguer's home computer while repairing it two years earlier. The man said he did not report it at the time, as he was new to his job and LeMaguer was his superior.

Police also learned during their investigation one of LeMaguer's teaching assistants had seen him looking at child pornography in his office in early 2003.

Defence counsel Smith said his client's bail terms included conditions he report weekly to Guelph Police, remain in Ontario, stay off the University of Guelph campus and not use computers. LeMaguer's employment at the university ended the same month he was charged.

The bail terms were reviewed by a Superior Court justice on Christmas Eve 2003, and varied to allow LeMaguer to report monthly to police, travel outside Canada as long as he notified Guelph Police of his departure and return, and use a computer provided police were permitted to check it at any time.

Smith said these conditions remain in place to this day.

He asked that sentencing be adjourned and said he will seek a conditional sentence to be served in the community.

MacDonald will ask for a jail sentence.

PROFESSOR'S CREDENTIALS

A sampling of Marc LeMaguer's professional accomplishments:

1970-73, assistant professor, ENSIA, France

1973-82, professor, Food Science Department, University of Alberta

1989-03, professor, Food Science Department, University of Guelph

July 1999 to October 2001, director general, Food Directorate, Health Canada

1993, awarded prestigious Ordre des Palmes Academiques in France

1996, named honorary professor, University of Light Industries of Wuhan, China

2001, named Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology

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