The artistic producer of the Maryland Arts Festival at Towson University has been charged with two counts of possessing child pornography and one count of storing child pornography after police discovered the material on one of the school's laptop computers, according to court documents.
Michael J. Decker, who also is a professor of fine arts at Towson, was arrested Thursday after he surrendered to campus police. He was released the same day after posting a $15,000 bond.
Decker, 50, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Susanna Craine, a Towson University spokeswoman, said Decker has been placed on administrative leave. The Maryland Arts Festival, which is held at the university, ends today.
Court documents indicate that campus police began an investigation April 13 after being contacted by a member of the school's computer and network services division.
The person had found "pornographic images, pornographic words and image titles" on a computer that Decker had dropped off for repairs, according to court documents.
Police then recovered 426 images from the computer's hard drive, many of which involved youths younger than age 16 engaged in a variety of sex acts, according to court documents.
A doctor also analyzed some of the images and determined they were photographs of youths younger than 16, according to court documents.
Cpl. Scott Rouch, a campus police spokesman, said his department handled the investigation because the "computer was owned by the university and the items were discovered by the university."
Baltimore County police and Maryland State Police assisted in the investigation, Rouch said.
The monthlong Maryland Arts Festival features plays, operas, films and musicals. Decker, who has been involved in the arts community for more than a decade, has been the principal organizer of the festival.
Craine would not comment when asked if future festivals might be jeopardized by the arrest.
"I think there will be a lot of thinking and talking and planning between now" and next year, she said.