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$750,000 Bond For Wheaton College Prof On Child Porn Charges

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Donald Ratcliff, 60, faces child porn charges. (DuPage County State's Attorney)

Donald Ratcliff, 60, faces child porn charges. (DuPage County State’s Attorney)

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WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) — Bond was set at $750,000 Friday morning for a Wheaton College professor who stands charged with possessing child pornography after police seized several computers from his home.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports a DuPage County judge set the bond Friday morning for Donald Ratcliff, 60, of Carol Stream. He must post 10 percent, or $75,000, to be released from jail.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Ratcliff is charged with five counts of aggravated child pornography. His IP address was pinpointed by undercover Carol Stream police detectives during a month-long investigation tracking Web users who were trading child porn.

Police seized six or seven computers from Ratcliff’s home, according to DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Therieau. She did not quantify how much pornography was actually on the computers or on what media they were found.

But prosecutors said some of the children who appeared in the pornography were under the age of 13.

Ratcliff also faces one count of possessing firearms without a Firearms’ Owner Identification Card, after police found two handguns that Ratcliff’s attorney said were family heirlooms. Police also found 1,500 rounds of ammunition in Ratcliff’s home, prosecutors said.

Ratcliff appeared at the hearing through a closed-circuit audio hookup.

If he makes bond, he will not be allowed to have contact with anyone under 18, and will not be allowed access to a computer.

Ratcliff has a doctorate in educational psychology, according to a biographical page on the Wheaton College Web site. He became a pastor at the age of 19, according to defense attorneys.

He is listed as the Price-Lebar Professor of Christian Education and has been on the faculty since 2006. He is married with three children.

Describing his research, Ratcliff says it involves child development in “school or church contexts,” according to the Wheaton College bio page.

Ratcliff’s defense attorney declined to comment upon leaving court.

Ratcliff is due back in court on Thursday of next week for another bond hearing, at which the defense may move to have his bond lowered.

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