Former Tarleton State University professor Thomas Dougherty missed a pre-trial hearing scheduled to take place in the 266th Judicial District Court Thursday due to an illness. However, an Erath County grand jury handed down six additional indictments for possession of child pornography later that afternoon.
Dougherty, a tenured professor of child psychology, was fired after files containing child pornography were allegedly found on his office computer in 2007. A grand jury already indicted him on three counts of possession of child pornography in 2008 after an investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. The Office of the Attorney General will prosecute the case.
A tentative trial date has been set to begin July 20.
The TSU Police Department began investigating Dougherty in December 2007 after a student working near the professor’s office discovered a suspicious computer folder with Dougherty’s name on it. The student reported the discovery to campus police, who referred the case to the attorney general’s cyber crimes unit. Investigators with the attorney general’s office conducted a forensic analysis of Dougherty’s office computer, which allegedly uncovered several images and videos of child pornography.
Dougherty was terminated for allegedly downloading/possessing child pornography on a campus computer.
Calls to Dougherty’s attorney Shay Isham were not returned at press time.