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posted: 4/5/2012 9:07 PM

Ex-Wheaton College professor posts bond in child porn case

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  • Donald Ratcliff

    Donald Ratcliff


An ex-Wheaton College professor accused of possessing more than 500 images of child pornography has posted the $30,000 he needed to get out of jail.

Donald Ratcliff, 60, of Carol Stream had his bail set at $300,000, and on Tuesday afternoon, he posted 10 percent of that amount, which sets him free while his case is pending, a spokesman from the DuPage County state's attorney's office confirmed Thursday night.

Prosecutors say the images in Ratcliff's possession involved children younger than 5. Police searched Ratcliff's home in early March after an undercover investigation, and he is also accused of possessing two handguns and 1,600 rounds of ammunition without being registered to own firearms.

Ratcliff was fired from his job as a Christian education professor on March 14, two weeks after he was charged. The next day, Ratcliff's wife filed for divorce, court records show.

Ratcliff had taught at the college since 2006 and holds a doctorate in psychology. His research focused largely on children's spirituality, according to online biographies. He was immediately placed on leave after he was charged.

Ratcliff has pleaded not guilty to the seven counts of aggravated child pornography and three misdemeanor weapons charges that he faces.

His next court date is May 2.

Aggravated child pornography is punishable by probation or three to seven years in prison.

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