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Penn's former library head pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and related charges yesterday.

Former Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Paul Mosher, who was arrested in April after roughly 2,000 illicit images were discovered on his office computer, was scheduled for a pretrial conference yesterday morning. At the time of the hearing, he pleaded guilty on charges of sexual abuse of children and unlawful use of a communication facility.

However, the charge of possessing an instrument of crime was dropped.

According to prosecuting attorney Melissa Cornibe, sexual abuse of children is Pennsylvania's charge for possession of child pornography.

Mosher will return to the Criminal Justice Center for sentencing on Jan. 21. The maximum penalty for each charge is seven years in prison, according to Cornibe.

Additionally, the charges have the potential to carry monetary penalties of up to $15,000 each, either in addition to or in place of imprisonment.

As a result of the plea, Judge Carolyn Temin ordered an assessment to determine if Mosher is a "sexually violent predator," Cornibe said. The investigation is mandated by Megan's Law, which is designed to protect citizens from convicted sex offenders.

Mosher's sentencing is scheduled to coincide with the close of the Megan's Law investigation. Temin will consider the results of the investigation when determining the appropriate punishment for Mosher.

Mosher's plea was not part of a plea agreement, but rather was what is known as pleading open.

"There weren't any negotiations" before yesterday's conference, Cornibe said. Mosher simply "decided he wanted to plead guilty" and as a result, will not stand trial, she said.

"We'll get [the assessment] and give it to the judge," Cornibe said.

Mosher's attorney, Paul Messing, as well as University officials, would not comment on any aspect of the case.

Penn spokeswoman Lori Doyle said that "since [Mosher is] no longer with Penn, we haven't been following the case."

College senior Max Cantor, who met Mosher while serving on the Student Committee for Undergraduate Education and worked with him on various library projects for about two years, described the former library head as "great to work with."

"I was shocked and disappointed," Cantor said of Mosher's guilty plea. "It's a shame that Penn lost a wonderful, devoted administrator to whatever sickness it is that he has."

Mosher has been the subject of an investigation since roughly 2,000 illicit images were discovered on his computer last spring. Two computer repair technicians discovered the images on his computer and reported it to the University, which turned the investigation over to the Philadelphia Police Department.

The Special Victims Unit of the PPD subsequently seized Mosher's computer from his office in the Van Pelt Library on April 11. Mosher was placed on administrative leave that day.

Six days later, Mosher resigned from his position and then turned himself in to Philadelphia Police on April 21.

At his August arraignment, Mosher had pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse of children, unlawful use of a communication facility and possession of an instrument of crime.

College sophomore Jason Lee, a member of the University's Dean's Advisory Board, said he was not surprised at Mosher's guilty plea, since Mosher had resigned last year in response to the investigation.

"When I heard about it last year it was pretty shocking," he said. "The guilty [plea] right now isn't very shocking."

Although he has yet to be sentenced, Cantor indicated that Mosher is already suffering from his crime.

"He's definitely going through a lot right now, and it's not undeserved," Cantor said.

"But he's definitely being punished well before his sentence is being meted out," he said.

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