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Duke researcher faces sex exploitation charges

Posted November 15, 2013

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— A Duke University researcher was charged early Friday with sexual exploitation of a minor, authorities said.

William Lee Ebenstein, 57, of 2914 Buckingham Road in Durham, was charged with seven counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He was being held in the Durham County jail under a $600,000 bond.

No details about the case were available because the FBI said it is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Ebenstein has worked at Duke since 1991 and conducts research in the Department of Physics. University spokesman Keith Lawrence said he has been placed on leave while the charges are pending.

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  • wattsdavm2 Nov 15, 2013

    His research was w/the ATLAS group & Higgs-Boson "God Particle" 1st degree is manufacturing child porn w/cameras, video & real live kids etc. 2nd degree is distributing child porn that somebody else manufactured i.e. swapping files on the internet. You get caught sending the file out to undercover police or a weirdo whose computer or the file sharing service is being watched by the law. 3rd degree is just possesion. You didn't manufacture it or exchange the file. It is just sitting on your computer, external hard drive, smart phone,CD Rom when you get caught. Federal/state laws are written to punish child porn more harshly than actually havng sex with the child because the logic is the child is victimized/exploited over & each time the file is viewed (can be 1000's of times). This exploitation will go on forever even if the files are erased by the police, there is always that guy somewhere in the world that will pull out an old hard drive 8 years from now and start it all over.

  • datenobunaga2 Nov 15, 2013

    "My experience is that a lot of people who pursue careers in psychology go into the field to try to figure out what's wrong with themselves...no offense to the sane psychologists out there; I know you exist too." SImplelogic

    He was doing research in PHYSICS not PSYchology. But I know what you mean. That used to be true for doctors as well, and I think they make better doctors, but nowadays it is all about the money.

  • BeKind Nov 15, 2013

    Physics is not psychology. I agree, bizarro.....leave Duke out of the headlines of this scandalous human being.

  • katzpauz Nov 15, 2013

    Maybe he was doing research......errr not....just saying...

  • LetsBeFair Nov 15, 2013

    everyone is strange, some more than others.

  • bizarro Nov 15, 2013

    What's the point of highlighting his place of employment in the headline? As if this has something to do with Duke?

  • OleNCNative Nov 15, 2013

    Those charges relate to possession of child pornography, right?

  • simplelogic Nov 15, 2013

    My experience is that a lot of people who pursue careers in psychology go into the field to try to figure out what's wrong with themselves...no offense to the sane psychologists out there; I know you exist too.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Nov 15, 2013

    Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.

  • MPS Nov 15, 2013

    DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves, I think if he had sex with a minor he would be facing rape or similar charges wouldn't he? "Exploitation" makes me think of him taking illicit photos or something along those lines.

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