A Salt Lake man has pleaded guilty to reduced charges that he hacked into the University of Utah's computer files to access information about 23,000 students, faculty and staff.

Luke W. Timmins, 20, pleaded guilty to computer crimes, a class A misdemeanor, during a 3rd District Court hearing Thursday. Prosecutors reduced the charge from a third-degree felony in exchange for his plea.Judge Sheila McCleve could order Timmins to spend up to one year in jail during his sentencing hearing, scheduled for Oct. 9.

According to university police, Timmins used special programs to exploit a weakness in the university's computer system that enabled him to illegally obtain names, phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and Social Security numbers of 23,000 people.

Police said Timmins sent e-mail to more than 13,000 people soliciting support for particular candidates running for student office. It does not appear that Timmins used the illegally procured Social Security numbers in a fraudulent manner.