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Child Exploitation

Former professor sentenced to more than 37 years for aggravated child sex abuse

Child pornography probe rescued infant from sexual abuse by the professor and infant's mother

SAN FRANCISCO – A former Cal State assistant professor was sentenced Thursday to 450 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI that revealed he traveled across state lines to sexually abuse a child.

Kenneth Martin Kyle, 47, admitted that in August 2009 he traveled from San Francisco to St. Louis for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with an infant victim. Immediately following his guilty plea, reached as part of a plea agreement, Kyle was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White.

"It is my hope that the sentence Mr. Kyle received sends a strong message about the abhorrent conduct in this case," said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. "Protecting children from sexual predators is an important priority. My office will continue to work diligently with our partners in law enforcement to track down and prosecute sexual predators to the fullest extent of the law."

At the time of his arrest in March 2010, Kyle was an assistant professor of justice studies at California State University East Bay. He came to the attention of the FBI when undercover agents discovered he was sharing child pornography over a peer-to-peer file sharing network. The FBI passed the information to the San Francisco Police Department, which obtained a search warrant for Kyle's San Francisco apartment. During the search of the apartment, officers found computers containing child pornography. Because Kyle was out of the country at the time, the police department shared the information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

"Nothing is more gratifying than seeing someone like this go to prison for a very, very long time, where he will no longer have the opportunity to harm children in such a horrible fashion," said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "HSI will use every tool at its disposal to track down those who would harm our children and see that they are brought to justice."

During his plea hearing, Kyle admitted to molesting a 5-month old infant in St. Louis over several months. The infant's mother currently faces federal child pornography charges in California and Missouri, and has already pleaded guilty to state child molestation charges in Missouri.

Kyle was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2010. He was charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child; production of child pornography; distribution of child pornography; transportation of child pornography; and possession of child pornography. Under the plea agreement, Kyle pleaded guilty to count one of the indictment.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Owen Martikan with the assistance of Rosario Calderon. In addition to HSI, the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department, the St. Louis Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri also participated in the case.