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Police Say Ex-Sophomore Had Child Pornography


Keith J. Winstein

A former MIT student was charged yesterday with possession of child pornography on his Next House dormitory-room computer, Massachusetts authorities said.

The former student, Debashish Sircar, 19 years old, was registered as a sophomore last fall, when he served as an associate advisor for Next House freshmen. He is not currently enrolled or living on campus, said Denise Brehm, an MIT spokeswoman.

The police became interested in Sircar as part of an investigation into peer-to-peer file-sharing of pornographic images over the Internet, the attorney general’s office said.

At some time in the past several months, police executed a search warrant at Next House and found child pornography on Sircar’s computer, according to Terence Burke, a spokesman for the attorney general.

Sircar will be arraigned on two counts of possession of child pornography at the Cambridge District Court on April 28, Burke said. The crime is punishable by up to five years in state prison. Sircar is not charged with producing illegal images or distributing them.

The police also announced charges against five other Massachusetts men yesterday, for allegedly possessing, and in some cases intending to distribute, child pornography that had been traded in Internet chat rooms or with peer-to-peer file sharing software.

Telephone calls to Sircar’s home in Bronx, N.Y., were not returned.