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Press Release

Emory Professor Arraigned on Child Pornography Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA – Kevin M. Sullivan, a professor in Emory University’s Epidemiology Department, has been arraigned on federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

“Sullivan is charged with downloading images that record the sexual abuse of children,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “We remain committed to the primary goal of Project Safe Childhood, which is to protect children by finding and prosecuting those who exploit children through child pornography.”

“HSI special agents are dedicated to tracking down the consumers of child pornography wherever they might be in an effort to stop the senseless rape of children that supplies this perverse demand,” said Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan, head of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “Child predators come from all walks of life, as the accused in this case clearly demonstrates. This investigation is a credit to the close working relationships HSI has built with law enforcement agencies around the world, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Swiss Fedpol in this case, to protect innocent children.”

“This case demonstrates the need for law enforcement to remain vigilant in the pursuit of people who exploit children.   Dr. Sullivan’s life took a turn from helping people through his work in Epidemiology to exploiting children, utilizing the Wi-Fi at Emory University.  The GBI’s top priority continues to be working crimes against children, regardless of who the offenders are,” said Vernon Keenan, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: In October 2014, Swiss law enforcement seized a server that was hosting child pornography. Login information from the server showed that someone at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health was using Emory’s Wi-Fi to access child pornography. With cooperation from Emory University’s Information Technology Department, agents were able to determine that Dr. Kevin Sullivan, a professor in Emory University’s Epidemiology department, was the person accessing child pornography from a Swiss website.

Based on this information, agents obtained and then executed a search warrant on June 15, 2015, at the defendant’s office.  Sullivan was present when the agents arrived, but left before agents found child pornography on his personal laptop and external hard drive. When agents went to Sullivan’s house later the same day to arrest him, they found him attempting to erase the hard drive from his home desktop computer.

Kevin M. Sullivan, 60, of Atlanta, Georgia, was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 5, 2015.  Today he was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman on those charges.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul R. Jones and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin E. Sanders are prosecuting the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated August 12, 2015

Project Safe Childhood