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Published: Saturday, 5/5/2007

Former University of Toledo official gets jail time

Once an academic leader at the University of Toledo, John Nutter yesterday was labeled a sexually oriented offender in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and sentenced to time in jail.

The former associate vice president of strategy and institutional research was found guilty March 14 of sex-related charges for downloading and viewing pornographic material involving minors on the computer in his UT office.

He pleaded no contest to two counts each of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor.

Yesterday, Judge Gary Cook sentenced Nutter, 51, of Temperance, to four years community control, including four months in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker, to which he will report May 14.

He also will spend one month on work-release and two additional months on electronic monitoring as well as participation in sexually oriented offender treatment programs.

"In a case like this, the victim does not have a voice, but it certainly is not a victimless crime," Judge Cook said. "You cannot hide behind the insulation of the separation of time, place, or the Internet. By [downloading it], you are in fact abusing the children in these videos."

Nutter, who resigned from the university in late February, did not speak in court yesterday but had written a letter to the judge prior to his sentencing.

Defense attorney Jerry Phillips said Nutter expressed remorse for causing harm to his family, including his wife, 15-year-old son, and elderly mother.

Mr. Phillips asked the judge to consider community control in lieu of prison time and pointed to Nutter's clean background and service to the community.

If prison time was imposed consecutively, Nutter could have faced up to five years.

"He was devastated by his actions as it related to his family," Mr. Phillips said after the hearing.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Lambdin outlined the amount of pornography found on Nutter's computer and asked that the judge impose a period of incarceration to discourage that type of behavior.

Found on Nutter's computer were thousands of pornographic images, of which several hundred portrayed children in various stages of nudity, masturbation, and rape, Ms. Lambdin said.

Additionally, movie clips were found on the computer, as were 49 discs containing several hundred pornographic photographs and movie clips.

According to court records, the activity started Dec. 20 and lasted through January. Ms. Lambdin suggested yesterday that it occurred for "the better part of 2006."

"I think if you're doing this for the length of time he was doing this and burning it on discs, this goes beyond curiosity," she said. "These children are victimized horribly and every time someone like Mr. Nutter clicks on it, downloads it, burns it on a CD, every time, these children are victimized again."

The investigation of Nutter began Jan. 10 when the university received a report that he was seen viewing pornographic material on his university computer during office hours and that it was in open view of co-workers and visitors.

In addition to resigning from his post at UT, Nutter resigned as a scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 770 in Temperance.

The troop kept him on as an assistant scoutmaster until news of the charges surfaced.

Nutter joined UT as director of institutional research in June, 2001. Prior to that, he was director of institutional research at Owens Community College and was a full-time faculty member at Michigan State University for five years and at Texas A&M University for three years.

He has a PhD in political science from Northwestern University, where he held the Gordon Scott Fulcher Fellowship for decision-making in international affairs for three years.

- ERICA BLAKE



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