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BOSTON (AP) — A Merrimack College professor has been charged with possession of child pornography he allegedly accessed with a college computer, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Gary Spring, 61, was chairman of the civil engineering department and administrator of a youth summer camp at the North Andover campus when the pornography, which included images of young girls, was discovered, prosecutors said. He was arrested Friday and the college said he was fired.

Merrimack began investigating in June after getting virus alerts for a computer loaned to Spring. Campus security investigators discovered he was logged on when the alerts were triggered and that the computer was used to access child porn, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said search warrants executed by federal investigators found child pornography at Spring's office and his Danvers home.

A residential telephone listed to Spring wasn't accepting messages Friday. It is not immediately known if he has an attorney.

"The Merrimack College community is saddened by these disturbing allegations," spokesman James Chiavelli said in a statement, noting that college officials brought the matter to law enforcement, and support a full investigation.

"Our prayers today are for all victims of sexual exploitation, especially those unable to speak for themselves, and the college encourages everyone to immediately call potential abuse to the attention of the proper authorities," the statement said.

The college, founded by the Roman Catholic Augustinian order, has 2,800 students.

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