A CSU student accused of sending nude photos of himself to a detective posing as a 13-year-old girl said he will fight the felony allegation.
"I will be able to explain myself and exonerate myself," said Bradley S. Shilling in a brief interview with the Collegian on Friday. "Right now, I'm just holding on for dear life."
On the advice of his lawyer, he said, he could not say anymore.
Authorities arrested Shilling on Tuesday for investigation of promotion of obscenity to a minor. The accusation stems from two online chat room visits in November, said Trevor Materasso, Westminster police spokesman.
The 22-year-old, who was released pending charges, allegedly sent 15 explicit photos of himself to the "13-year-old girl."
If convicted, he faces two to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000, Materasso said.
The university is conducting its own investigation into the matter – a standard procedure whenever a student is arrested for or charged with a serious crime, said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.
Bohlander referred inquiries about the investigation to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services at CSU.
The director of the office, Anne Hudgens, cited privacy laws and said she could not talk about this specific case.
However, she said investigations conducted by the office are independent of the criminal charges and focus on whether the student violated the university's code of conduct.
So students who are legally exonerated could still face punishment from the university.
"The sanctions range anywhere from a warning to expulsions from the university," Hudgens said.
Westminster police were involved because the undercover detective logged onto the Internet within city limits, Materasso said.
Authorities are investigating Shilling, a Windsor resident listed as a senior economics major, for similar incidents in Denver and Pueblo, the spokesman added.
Westminster police used this incident as an opportunity to educate the public about how to keep children safe online.
Some steps parents can take include taking their child's computer out of his or her bedroom and placing it in a high-traffic area in the house and educating themselves more about the world of online chat rooms, police said.
"We're in a time when a lot of children are more educated and have more working knowledge of the Internet than their parents do," Materasso said.