Ex-Wheaton College professor gets 3 1/2 years for child porn - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Ex-Wheaton College professor gets 3 1/2 years for child porn

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Donald Ratcliff / photo from Carol Stream police Donald Ratcliff / photo from Carol Stream police
WHEATON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A former Wheaton College professor who has written books on children's spirituality has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for having child pornography on his home computer.

Donald Ratcliff, 62, has been sentenced to 42 months in prison after he pleaded guilty last August to one count of possession of child pornography, according to a statement from the DuPage County Sheriff's office.

Carol Stream police arrested Ratcliff in March 2012 after an investigation traced Internet files containing child pornography to computers in his home.

The investigation revealed that Ratcliff had between 500 and 1,000 pornographic images of children, the statement said.

Ratcliff admitted periodically downloading pornographic pictures and videos of children but told investigators he wasn't addicted to viewing the images, prosecutors said at the time.

As part of his plea deal, prosecutors dropped nine other felony counts -- including six of aggravated child pornography that would have made Ratcliff eligible for a 49-year prison term.

Ratcliff told police after his 2012 arrest that he sporadically had been seeing a counselor because of his interest in child pornography, prosecutors said.

At the time of his arrest, Ratcliff taught Christian education at the suburban religious college famed for being the alma mater of evangelist Billy Graham.

He also had written 10 books on children's spirituality.

The college fired Ratcliff shortly after he was charged and his wife quickly divorced him.

Ratcliff will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, the statement said.

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