Former UGA professor pleads guilty to federal child porn charges


James Edward Monogan III

By Joe Johnson

A former University of Georgia professor who admitted to authorities that he possessed hundreds of images of child pornography entered a guilty plea in federal court today for his crime, Peter D. Leary, acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia said in a late Tuesday afternoon media release.

James Edward Monogan, III, 39, of Athens, pleaded guilty to one count possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal. Monogan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison to be followed by a maximum lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Monogan will also have to register as a sex offender. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

According to a five-count indictment filed June 18 in U.S. District Court in Athens, Monogan in March 2019 “attempted to and did employ, use, induce, entice, and coerce a minor, B.D., to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, which...was produced and transported using materials that had been mailed, shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”

The former political science professor resigned from UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs resigned in September while he was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The indictment also charged Monogan with three counts of receipt and distribution of child porn and one count of possessing child porn for allegedly being in possession of images that depicted two victims, one described in the indictment as being prepubescent, and the other a child younger than 12 years old.

According to a plea agreement, Homeland Security Investigation’s Atlanta Office (HSI-Atlanta) received information in 2019 that KIK user “utbballplaya03” had distributed child pornography to another KIK user in February 2019. KIK, formally known as Kik Messenger, is an internet based instant messaging mobile application. HSI also received a second child pornography distribution complaint for KIK user “texan21225053.” Both KIK usernames belonged to Monogan. On September 5, 2019, HSI, the GBI and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department executed a federal search warrant at the defendant’s residence in Athens, seizing several electronic devices. Monogan’s UGA office was also searched. A forensic review of the defendant’s electronics located 452 images of child pornography and eight videos depicting child sexual exploitation material on his UGA laptop, as well as an additional 119 images of child sexual exploitation material on his cell phone. Some of these images involved minors under the age of 12.

“Monogan actively participated in the evil world of child pornography and brazenly engaged in his criminal behavior using a computer belonging to his employer. He will spend many years inside a federal prison for his crime, ” Leary said. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners for tirelessly working to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and holding child sex offenders accountable.”

“Today’s plea is the result of the strong partnership that Homeland Security Investigations has with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department,” said Katrina W. Berger, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “By working together to leverage our respective resources and expertise, we have removed a dangerous child predator from the community.”

“This investigation demonstrates that no matter who you are, you will be held accountable for preying on children. We value our law enforcement partnerships to be able to work together in these type investigations to catch and punish criminals who seek to exploit one of our most vulnerable populations,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), the GBI and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.


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