A Radford University professor remains in jail on more than four dozen child pornography charges. Taj Mahon-Haft is charged with more than 50 counts of possession of child pornography and assault of a police officer. Police arrested him last week, for the third time in a month, after investigating computers found inside his Radford home back in December.
He appeared before Judge John Quigley Jr. in Radford General District Court Thursday morning, where he was denied bond.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Rehak laid out some evidence of the child pornography charges, saying it was a "serious public safety issue" and Mahon-Haft should remain behind bars.
"Not only would I remain in this area, I would remain in my house under house arrest if you need me to. I've developed some serious nightmares. I would really just like to see a doctor. I would just really like to hold my fiance," said Mahon-Haft during the hearing.
His fiance, Leah Gose, was in court testifying she would continue to live with him and she had been talking with his family in the state of Washington multiple times a day since his arrest. Family that prosecutors say he wanted to see.
"Isn't it true you were here about a week ago, trying to get permission to leave the state and go 3,000 miles away to Washington?" Rehak asked.
"I was asking permission to pick up my son and bring him back here and I won't and if that's a problem, I have no problem not doing it," Mahon-Haft said.
The Commonwealth's attorney showed the judge stacks of child pornography pictures he says were found by state police during a search of Mahon-Haft's home computer and Radford University computer. Rehak says videos were also found.
"The last few pages in that third stack on your far right are pictures we believe to be of his son. The defendant's own child is in some of those pictures," Rehak said.
The defense attorney, Jimmy Turk, asked for $25,000-$50,000 bond.
"There's no danger of flight risk or danger to himself or to others" Turk said.
"Clearly this is a serious public safety issue," Rehak said.
The judge ruled Mahon-Haft was to stay behind bars.
"I was hopeful the judge would consider setting bail, but he chose not to and that's what we have judges for. My intent was to appeal his decision if he refused to give him any kind of bond," Turk said.
The Commonwealth's Attorney didn't want to comment after the hearing. The next court appearance is set for April 12.
Mahon-Haft still had two black eyes, stemming from his most recent arrest, where he was tazed, and later charged with resisting arrest, a charge Turk now says his client is denying.
Radford University sent us the following statement from Joe Carpenter, Vice-President for University Relations & Chief Communications Officer: "Consistent with the Radford University faculty handbook, specifically the standards of conduct, Taj Mahon-Haft was suspended from all university duties on March 22 due to the nature of the allegations against him. According to the RU faculty handbook, suspension is justified when a faculty member's misconduct or charges of misconduct is of such a nature that immediate suspension is warranted to protect the interests of the University, other faculty members, students, or members of the University community. The suspension bars the individual from the main university campus, as well as any of its satellite campuses. The suspension will remain in effect pending the progress or outcome of the investigation by local authorities.
"The City of Radford Police Department is leading the investigation. Radford University Police Department have been cooperating with the city police in the investigation."