A former professor pleaded not guilty in federal court in San Francisco today to five criminal charges, including crossing a state line to commit child sexual abuse and producing child pornography.

Kenneth Kyle, 46, of San Francisco, a former assistant professor of public affairs and administration at California State University, East Bay, was indicted on the federal charges on April 1.

He is separately charged in Missouri with raping a 1-year-old girl and producing child pornography in that state.

Kyle resigned Monday from his teaching post, according to university spokeswoman Monique Beeler. He joined the CSUEB faculty in 2006 and previously taught sociology at Pennsylvania State University.

His not-guilty plea was entered by his defense lawyer, David Bigeleisen, at an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman.

Kyle, dressed in red Alameda County jail clothing, said nothing during the brief court appearance. He agreed last month to waive a detention hearing and is being held in custody without bail.

Kyle is due to return to court April 29 for a status conference before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, the trial judge assigned to the case.

The federal charges include one count of crossing a state line for purposes of aggravated sexual abuse of a child between August and October 2009. That charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison upon conviction.

The other charges are producing, distributing, transporting and possessing pornography.
The alleged victim’s mother, Tessa Van Vlerah, 20, of Ballwin in St. Louis County, Mo., is charged in the indictment with one count of producing child pornography depicting her own daughter between August and October 2009.

Van Vlerah is in custody in St. Louis County on $2 million bail.

Both Kyle and Van Vlerah face two sets of charges in Missouri. In St. Louis County, they are each accused of four Missouri state counts of raping Van Vlerah’s daughter, sodomy, promoting child pornography and committing or promoting incest.

They were also indicted by a federal grand jury in St. Louis on March 31 on one count of producing child pornography between March 1 and March 15, 2010.

The two federal indictments differ in that sexual abuse and pornography production charged in the San Francisco indictment allegedly took place in 2009, while the St. Louis indictment alleges pornography production in March of this year.

According to a biography formerly posted on CSUEB’s Web site, Kyle published a book on homelessness and taught courses on political theory, social theory, ethics and public policy. He holds a Ph.D. in justice studies from Arizona State University.

The biography said his research interests included homelessness, sexual deviance, family, mandatory computer ownership for university students and chemical castration for sex offenders.

Federal agents have said in court papers that the investigation of Kyle began during an FBI undercover probe of people distributing child pornography through peer-to-peer file-sharing Internet networks.

After images were allegedly traced to a computer user at Kyle’s address on Natoma Street in San Francisco, San Francisco police executed a search warrant on March 10, seized several computers and learned that Kyle was out of the country.

Kyle was then flagged for a customs search as he arrived at San Francisco International Airport on a flight from Germany on March 15 and was arrested after agents allegedly found child pornography images on a laptop computer he was carrying.

He was initially charged with one count of international transportation of pornography.
St. Louis County police say they were then alerted by federal prosecutors on March 23 that Kyle had met Van Vlerah on the Internet and may have traveled to Missouri to contact her and her daughter.

That tip led to Van Vlerah’s arrest in Missouri on March 24 and the filing of the additional charges against Kyle and Van Vlerah.

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