Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Deposition details evidence leading to UA professor’s arrest and placement on administrative leave

Tuscaloosa County Jail

Editor’s note: This story contains explicit mentions of the sexual abuse of children. Please read with discretion. 

New details regarding the arrest of James Andrew Crank, an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of English at the University, have emerged. 

Crank was arrested Tuesday on charges of “possession of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts.”

A deposition from the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama, which serves Tuscaloosa County, was filed on Wednesday, and it listed the date of the offense as Aug. 9. 

According to a copy of the deposition obtained by The Crimson White, Dropbox Inc. notified the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in August about a digital file that was uploaded to an account associated with the email [email protected] and the username James Crank. 

The deposition states that the file was determined to have depicted the sexual abuse of a “child clearly under the age of 17.”

Subpoenas submitted to Google Inc. and Comcast provided police with additional information verifying that the email, phone number and IP address associated with the Dropbox account were Crank’s. The IP address was traced to Crank’s home address in Tuscaloosa. 

Police and investigators then obtained a search warrant for the Dropbox account. Investigators were able to further link Crank to the account based on “photos/videos, work-related projects, financial documents, etc.” stored on the site, according to the deposition. 

The deposition also states that the investigators found an additional video on the Dropbox account that depicts “sexual conduct between an adult male and a child clearly under the age of 17.” 

Jason Neff, Crank’s attorney, said that Crank had been placed on administrative leave by the University “almost immediately after being booked into the jail.”

Crank was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail on Tuesday. His bond has not been set, and Neff said no court dates have been scheduled besides a preliminary hearing in early January.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.

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