A University of Wyoming assistant professor of mechanical engineering accused of having child pornography files on his personal laptop pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography Monday in U.S. District Court.

Jian Cai appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne yesterday to enter his plea. There was no plea agreement indicated in the court document filed Monday.

The investigation into Cai began on Feb. 14 in connection to a peer-to-peer, or P2P file sharing network. Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation were able to determine that an Internet Protocol, or IP address of a computer belonging to Cai had downloaded pornographic images depicting children, according to the criminal complaint.

Agents executed a search warrant of Cai’s home, which turned up the laptop in question. Cai told officers there where several hundred files of child pornography on an external hard drive in his possession, federal documents state.

Cai also told officers that he was an assistant professor at UW and he had used his laptops to connect to the internet via the UW network, federal documents state.

Cai pleaded not guilty in June and his trial was scheduled for Oct. 2. The trial was delayed after the defense filed a motion to hire additional counsel.

Cai is currently out on bond. His sentencing is scheduled for February 5. He faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said Cai is no longer employed at UW.


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