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House Fire Leads to NY Prof's Child Porn Arrest

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on January 20, 2012 4:06 AM

Tuesday was just terrible for Professor Gamal El-Zoghby. First his house caught fire -- and then firefighters found his alleged stash of child pornography hidden in the ceiling.

Firefighters discovered the child porn while battling a fire that engulfed El-Zoghby's home in Eagleswood Twp., N.J., the Press of Atlantic City reports. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

As crews worked to keep flames from spreading, they made a startling discovery: Pictures of child pornography began to fall from the ceiling.

New Jersey state police declined to say how many child pornography images were found in the professor's home. But after firefighters spent 12 hours battling the blaze, police arrested El-Zoghby in connection with the hidden child porn stash.

El-Zoghby, 79, is a longtime professor of architecture at the Pratt Institute, a private college in New York City. He now faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

New Jersey's child endangerment law is pretty broad. It encompasses the filming or copying of child porn images, the receipt of child porn images with the intent to distribute, along with simply possessing or viewing child porn.

Penalties could be more severe if the child porn images involve children under the age of 16, according to the statute. If El-Zoghby is convicted, he may also have to register as a sex offender, the statute says.

El-Zoghby was released after his arrest, a state police spokesman told the Associated Press. He has a pending court date to answer for his alleged child pornography stash.

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