Radford University criminal justice professor Taj Mahon-Haft was arrested three times in March on charges of drug possession and child pornography.
Mahon-Haft, 34, hit the trifecta on March 28 when police picked him up for his second charge child pornography possession, reports The Roanoke Times.
At a Thursday morning bond hearing, prosecuting attorney Chris Rehak showed the presiding judge a sample of the images that investigators had allegedly discovered on the professor’s home and work computers. Rehak also called Mahon-Haft a “dangerous individual.”
The judge agreed and denied bond.
Prior to Mahon-Haft’s third arrest, he had been set free on a $10,000 secured bond.
The seeds of the Radford criminal justice professor’s no-good, very-bad month were actually planted back in December. Mahon-Haft was out of town, according to his attorney, Jimmy Turk, and a neighbor called police because a side door to Mahon-Haft’s house was ajar.
A police officer arrived and, suspecting a standard burglary, snooped around the residence. Upstairs, the officer allegedly found a “green leafy plant-like material…a multicolored smoking device…a mirror, a rolled up dollar bill, a razor and a white powdery substance…in a line as in preparation for consumption,” explains The Roanoke Times.
Police did not have a search warrant at that time, but returned with one later.
On March 8, Mahon-Haft was charged with possession of marijuana and three regulated synthetic stimulants which are frequently referred to as “bath salts.”
Police also obtained warrants to search Mahon-Haft’s computer, which was seized during the drug investigation. Investigators allegedly found child pornography images and videos while perusing his computer’s files.
On March 21, police re-arrested Mahon-Haft on two dozen child pornography counts.
Mahon-Haft’s third arrest occurred on March 28 after police analyzed the contents of his Radford University-issued computer and found some more child porn.
Police told the Times that Mahon-Haft had downloaded the images on his laptop while he was out on bond for the pending drug charges.
Rehak, the prosecutor, has alleged that police officers tazed Mahon-Haft as he was getting arrested for the third time, apparently because he was actively resisting arrest.
Turk, Mahon-Haft’s attorney, refutes this characterization of events.
Whatever the case, Mahon-Haft was sporting two black eyes at his bond hearing and Turk told The Times that his client sustained those injuries at some stage in the third arrest.
Turk had argued that Mahon-Haft is not a flight risk because he owns a home locally and lives with his fiancé.
“There is no presumption here not to have bond,” Turk told the judge at the hearing.
“I will remain under house arrest if you need me to,” Mahon-Haft said in his own defense. “I’ve had serious nightmares, and I want to see a doctor and hold my fiancé,” he added, reportedly holding back tears.
Officials at Radford University, a public college in the small Virginia city of the same name, have barred Mahon-Haft from all campus facilities.
WSLS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, reports that Mahon-Haft taught three Introduction to Criminal Justice courses, each of which met two times per week.
He also directed a seminar called “War on Drugs.”
The professor’s bio page said that drugs and drug policy were among the focuses of his research, according to WSLS. However, his bio now appears to have been scrubbed from Radford’s website.
At the website RateMyProfessors.com, Mahon-Haft gets a 2.6 rating (out of a possible five).
Supporters call him “awesome” and “a good guy.”
Detractors claim he is “super-disorganized” and gives “stupid homework assignments.”
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