Federal authorities deny bail for professor

On Mon., Nov. 7, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly ordered Balazs Tarnai, assistant professor of special education, be held without bail.He faces a pending trial for two counts of alleged possession and one count for receiving child pornography. A search of Tarnai’s residence in Greensburg uncovered multiple videos and pornographic images.

Tarnai, 35, was arrested on Fri., Nov. 4 at his home.

At the judicial interim release hearing, Tarnai’s attorney, Alexander Lindsay, reasoned that Tarnai was using the material to research socio-sexual development of autistic children, which was the focus of his doctoral research.

Federal authorities found incidents related to the charges ranged from Feb. 2006 until March of this year.

Seton Hill University (SHU) issued a statement to media earlier this week: “Today, Seton Hill learned of the indictment of a faculty member of the university. The faculty member is suspended from the university indefinitely.”

Tarnai began teaching at SHU in 2008. Prior to SHU, Tarnai served as a graduate assistant at Penn State University, where he earned his doctorate. Tarnai is originally from Hungary.

Division of education chair Audrey Quinlan and program director Sondra Lettrich are covering Tarnai’s classes for the remainder of the semester.

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