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St. Vincent College student faces porn charges

A 19-year-old St. Vincent College student was charged with sexual abuse of children after he dropped off a personal computer at the college to be repaired and pornographic footage of children was found on the hard drive, state police said.

According to a criminal complaint filed with District Judge Michael Mahady in Latrobe, the charges filed against Tyler Jacob Hess of 527 Nagle Road, Erie, on July 21 stem from an April 19 incident.

In the complaint, Trooper Robert Burford states that Hess dropped off his personal laptop at the college's student-work program, saying it possibly had a virus and asking that it be repaired.

Students working on the computer discovered photos and video footage of child pornography, and police were contacted.

The computer was confiscated and a search warrant was served on Hess. When a forensic analysis was performed on Hess' computer, files were found containing a large number of images indicative of child pornography. Police said many child pornography files were located in a folder along with three subfolders marked "Best," "Good" and "Rare." Each subfolder contained child pornography video files, police said.

The complaint states that the charge includes the possession or control of photographs, video footage, computer depiction or other material depicting a child younger than 18 engaging in a prohibited or simulated sexual act.

Hess is listed as a freshman member of the 2010 St. Vincent Bearcats baseball team.

He faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 30 before Mahady.

Don Orlando, spokesman for St. Vincent College, declined comment yesterday.

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