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Former UCLA athletics official pleads not guilty in child porn case

Colleges and UniversitiesUCLANCAA

A former UCLA athletics official charged with possession of child pornography pleaded not guilty Friday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

Michael Sondheimer, 58, was charged in February with one felony count of possessing material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct, prosecutors said. If convicted, he faces a maximum three years in state prison.

Sondheimer graduated from UCLA in 1977 and spent at least 36 years at the university as an athletic administrator, according to a biography previously posted on the UCLA athletic department website. For decades he was in charge of the department's compliance with NCAA rules and UCLA guidelines on academic admissions and on-campus recruiting, the biography said.

Sondheimer allegedly had child pornography on his work-issued laptop in April 2013, Deputy Dist. Atty. Samer Hathout said in a statement. He was placed on administrative leave by the university in early June and resigned later that month.

In a statement released at the time, the university said the allegations against Sondheimer “were unrelated to his job at UCLA and did not involve students or any other employees of the university.”

Prosecutors said Friday that the case remains under investigation by the University of California Police Department.  

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matt.stevens@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

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