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HCC professor arrested on child porn charges

A Hillsborough Community College math professor Howard Joseph Vorder Bruegge III faces child pornography charges after federal agents said he exchanged illicit images online, according to a criminal complaint. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
A Hillsborough Community College math professor Howard Joseph Vorder Bruegge III faces child pornography charges after federal agents said he exchanged illicit images online, according to a criminal complaint. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Published Oct. 24, 2018

TAMPA — A Hillsborough Community College math professor is facing child pornography charges after federal agents said he exchanged illicit images online, according to a criminal complaint.

Howard Joseph Vorder Bruegge III was arrested Tuesday at his east Hillsborough County apartment. He faces charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Vorder Bruegge, 35, has been with the college since 2003, HCC spokeswoman Ashley Carl said. He has taught math there since 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.

"We have been alerted that his resignation will be forthcoming," Carl said, adding that he had already been placed on administrative leave.

Vorder Bruegge became the subject of a criminal investigation in August.

That month, Canadian authorities received information about child pornography being sent through an online messaging application, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa.

The application's administrators suspended the account that sent the images, which was identified by the user name "JoeBlow73." They alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who later the information to U.S. authorities.

A separate tip about child pornography came to Homeland Security officials, who identified another account, "JoeBlowFL." Subscriber information, including an email address, a birth date, and internet protocol addresses linked the accounts to Vorder Bruegge, according to the complaint.

Agents searched his home Tuesday. They seized his cell phone, which they said held three videos depicting adults sexually abusing children, some as young as infants, the complaint states.

In an interview with federal agents, Vorder Bruegge admitted having used the messenger accounts, according to the complaint. He also told the agents he had exchanged child pornography with another person for a few years.

He was booked Tuesday night into the Pinellas County Jail.

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