Former UNC employee hit with child porn charges

Dec. 31, 2012 @ 04:04 PM

Charles Hitlin, who was working for UNC when he became the subject of a child pornography investigation in November, has been charged with two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hitlin, 49, of 620 Old Oaks Lane, Pittsboro, on Dec. 19 on a warrant issued by the UNC Dept. of Public Safety.
The warrant states that a magistrate found probable cause that Hitlin, using the email account hitlin@unc.edu, distributed two images of an unknown boy between the ages of 8 and 11 years old sitting on a couch with his penis showing. The date of offense was listed as between Nov. 3, 2009, and Nov. 8, 2012.
A person is guilty of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor if a person records, photographs, films, develops or duplicates material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity or distributes, transports, receives, sells, purchases, solicits material that contain an image of a minor engaged in sexual activity.
The charge is a Class E felony.
The magistrate set his bond at $65,000. He is scheduled to appear in Orange County District Court on Jan. 3.
Hitlin has another court date in Orange County Court on Jan. 11 for felony possession of a gun on educational property. When investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched his office on Nov. 8, 2012, at Rosenau Hall on the UNC campus, they found a loaded 9 mm handgun in his office, as well as 21 9mm rounds and a Gerber knife.
The task force is composed of officers from various law enforcement agencies. The investigation into Hitlin began when a member of the task force who worked for the Morrisville Police Department engaged in a computer chat with someone identified as “amyinnc” in a chat room of a pornographic website.
“Amyinnc” wrote that she had had sex with neighborhood kids, including a 15-year-old boy and his 12-year-old brother, and that her husband took photos and videos of her having sex with different people “of legal age.”
The investigator traced the email to the IP address of a computer being used by an employee on the UNC campus. Investigators obtained three search warrants, two for offices in Rosenau Hall and one for an office in Hanes Hall, that were associated with Hitlin and his wife, who also worked at UNC.
During the search, investigators found the gun in Charles Hitlin’s office. They also seized computers, telephones, flash drives, CDS and other computer related items, according to the search warrants.
Hitlin was an IT manager at UNC when the investigation started.