Professor faces status, detention hearings Friday

Diego Fasolini, the part-time Italian-language professor arrested for possession of child pornography in October, is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing and detention hearing Friday afternoon in the D.C. District Court.

At the hearing, Magistrate Judge Alan Kay will decide if there is probable cause to believe that Fasolini committed a crime and if there is enough evidence to present at a trial. If the case goes to trial, the judge will decide if Fasolini will remain in jail or be released on bail.

Fasolini, 42, has been in prison since his Oct. 28 arrest. He was suspended from the University pending investigation, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

Fasolini’s arrest came after he asked a GW technical support analyst to back up the contents of an old external hard drive onto a new one. The analyst found an image of a young girl being sexually abused when checking to make sure the transfer was complete, and notified the police.

Metropolitan Police Department Detective Timothy Palchak interviewed Fasolini, who said he had images of adult pornography and possibly “younger porn,” according to court documents.

Palchak then obtained a search warrant for the hard drive, which uncovered more than 100,000 videos and images in folders and subfolders, including pictures of prepubescent children duct-taped and bound, according to court documents. Court documents contain graphic descriptions of the images, which Fasolini categorized into folders separated by gender.

Fasolini has been a visiting Italian-language professor at colleges and universities across the country, staying at many of the locations for only one year. These include a current stint at George Mason University, the University of Miami from 2008 to 2009, Tulane University from 2004 to 2005 and Vassar College from 2002 to 2003.

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