Computers, cameras seized from U. professor's apartment

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29 2011 10:07 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Computers, cameras and other electronic items were seized last month from the apartment of a University of Utah professor accused of viewing child pornography on a flight from Salt Lake City to Boston.

The application to search the residence, computer equipment and storage devices used by Grant D. Smith, 47, as well as list of items seized, were filed Thursday in 3rd District Court.

Smith was arrested Nov. 26 after at least two passengers on a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Boston's Logan International Airport said the man had been viewing child pornography on his laptop computer while sitting in first class.

The passengers alerted flight attendants, who instructed Smith to turn off his computer. Police were waiting for Smith when the plane landed.

The Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched Smith's Cottonwood Heights apartment Nov. 28, while Smith was still being held in the Suffolk County Jail in Massachusetts.

The ICAC team seized one computer, two external hard drives, a video camera, a cell phone, a 35mm camera and an undeveloped roll film, an iPod and a telephone bill.

According to the application for the search warrant, the task force believes information from the seized items "will provide crucial evidence in the investigation," "may lead to the identification of other suspects" and "potentially aid in identifying the victims of child sexual abuse."

Massachusetts police searched Smith's MacBook computer and found pornographic images of naked female children between the ages of 5 and 10 engaging in sexual activity with adult males, according to the search warrant.

Police said Smith told them he had been deleting the images from his laptop during the flight because he was "bored," court documents state.

Smith has been living in the Cottonwood Heights apartment for about 15 months, court documents state. His divorce from his wife of more than 20 years was finalized just prior to his arrest.

Smith posted his $75,000 bail on Dec. 5. A judge previously ordered that he have no unsupervised contact with children under 16, only use the Internet for his professional job, and allow police to search his computers at any time.

His next scheduled court date is Dec. 27 in Boston.

Smith is a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Utah. He has been placed on administrative leave.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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