Local News

N.C. State Student Faces Child Porn Charge

Posted March 2, 2007
Updated March 3, 2007

— A student at North Carolina State University was arrested Friday and charged with downloading child pornography.

Last week, N.C. State Campus Police were contacted by the Pennsylvania State Police Internet Crimes Division about a computer IP address at the university that was downloading content.

A subpoena showed the IP address belonged to Mark Aaron Vasconcellos, 20, who resides at Wolf Village Apartments.

Campus police searched Vasconcellos' residence Friday and seized his computer.

Vasconcellos, who is from Waxhaw, N.C., in Union County is charged with one count of felony second-degree exploitation of a minor. He was in custody at the Wake County Jail Friday afternoon under a $250,000 secured bond. His first court appearance is scheduled for March 5.

Students on campus were shocked to learn about the charges.

"Anyone who downloads any kind of thing that looks at little children is absolutely sick to me," said Orrick Quick, a senior.

Ryan Bragg lives with Vasconcellos in the Wolf Village Apartments. WRAL broke the news to him about the roommate he's been friends with since high school. His reaction: "surprised."

The door to Vasconcellos' room is covered with cartoons and a poster that says, "It's all about me. Deal with it."

Bragg said he can't believe the senior chemical engineering student could be accused of such a crime.

"He really doesn't seem like the type of guy who would find something like that interesting," Bragg said.

Vasconcellos isn't the first N.C. State student to be charged with this type of crime.

In 2004, a freshman was accused of using the computer in his dorm to download child pornography. In 1999, Jon Richard Brock, 18, was arrested for storing child porn on his computer. Timothy Gilrane, 22, faced similar charges. Both were later convicted on charges of preparation of obscene literature and sentenced to community service.

"It's very difficult to monitor everybody," said N.C. State Campus Police Chief Thomas Younce.

Younce said that with about 35,000 students and staff on campus, it's tough to keep track of online activity.

Authorities seized Vasconcellos' computer and handed it over to the State Bureau of Investigation for further investigation.

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  • jmarcero99 Mar 5, 2007


    honestly i think this kinda sucks...like i work my ass off to get into state and they let me in here with some freaking child porn sick-o

    look at the guys facebook and tell me you are suprised...

  • kila Mar 5, 2007

    I agree with "ferritt's" comment!! Why don't they go to the source of this obscene crap?? They're the ones who absolutely need to be prosecuted! It's just easier to get the little guy on down the line, instead of the main one they need to get!

  • elliemae Mar 4, 2007

    I just don't understand these kids go to college and this is what they do. My child went to college and couldn't afford to graduate and with our (parents) help. This is getting off the subject but our child did not do this stuff and couln't get financial aid. He wanted to graduate. The university refused to help. The rich they will help. The less fortunate ones and the ones that really care about their education, no matter how much you try to convince the university, they could care less. Thanks for listening friends. I just had to get this off my mind. I know that is water over the dam so to speak but I will never forget the pain we went through.

  • jamandbread Mar 4, 2007

    Sloane Hefferman needs to exclude information not related to the facts of the story. A fact, this is the first NCSU student accused of this....so why do we dig up other things regardless of where the student is attending if not related. Just shows bias on the reporter's part. Not the first incident for her.

  • Bruce Mar 4, 2007

    Why would Old History be connected to current news.
    Is at all about the "SENSSATIONALISM". Just what did the old cases really add to the current news.
    We see cases of legislative abuse constantly, but you certainly didn't go back and dig up old cases there.

  • Ckimoo Mar 3, 2007

    There is one other very strange thing here that may or may not be significant.
    Doing a search for Pennsylvania State Police Internet Crimes Division, Unit, whatever, does not bring up anything. Even a search of the Pennsylvania State Police website does not bring up any division specifically for internet crimes.
    North Carolina DOES have an internet crimes division and it is easily accessible through a search.
    It will be really interesting to see what evidence comes out.
    The reason this concerns me is that I think a person should have to knowlingly and willingly commit a crime of this sort to be thrown in jail for it. There are many cases where this is not the case and it just muddies it up for prosecuting the real bad guys.

  • the pied piper Mar 3, 2007

    Wow! Someone got busted for DOWNLOADING kiddie porn. Good for the cops. Now, what are they going to do about the person who MADE the porn and then distributed it? That's the perv who needs to be chained up, put in a bag, and thrown into the river.

  • FloydRTurbo Mar 3, 2007

    A Guaranteed Certainty in ANY Triangle Area News concerning any story from any one of the three major campuses ... partisans of the effected school SCREAM "THE MEDIA HATES __"us"____ ".
    Duke fans groan about every Lacrosse story ... UNCers whine about Mohammed The SUV Driver and Professor Peeper in The Atlanta Airport ... now Wuffs whine about this one.
    Amazing that all forms of local media apparently get together to conspire based on "sports allegiances" ... yawn. ... and every fanbase is absolutely convinced THEY are the sole target.

  • the original Milky Mar 3, 2007

    hep8236 - Those comments were made before the story was updated at 1:54 (Updated: Today at 1:54 p.m.). I saw 3,000 students too before the update. Apparently the problem is people writing too fast, not reading too fast, yourself included.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Mar 3, 2007

    "Looking" at it is where it begins.