Michaels dismissed from Pitt after child pornography possession charges

Edward Michaels (Photo Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh)

Edward Michaels (Photo Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh)

Edward Michaels has been dismissed from Pitt, according to a University spokesperson, after he was charged with possessing child pornography on May 24.

Michaels is the former director of Pitt’s counseling center, a position he held since June 2015. Immediately following his arrest, Pitt placed Michaels on leave and assured students that “the services provided by our staff in the University Counseling Center will continue unabated” in a statement that is now removed from the counseling center’s website.

Marian Vanek, the director of student health service, is currently supervising the center, according to Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch, who added that the center is “fully staffed at the service provision level.”

Michaels started a task force he said would address the mental health needs of Pitt students when he was hired. The results of their survey, which he shared with The Pitt News in September 2015, found students’ highest priorities related to suicide prevention.

Miksch said the task force’s work will continue.

Allegheny County police arrested Michaels on charges of possessing child pornography and criminal use of a communications facility. According to a police criminal complaint, a Wilkinsburg police sergeant found child pornography in his home on March 27 after the police received a tip. The sergeant seized two laptops, two memory sticks and several hundred loose photos.

County detectives reviewed the evidence April 13 and found sexually explicit photos of what appeared to be prepubescent girls, according to the complaint.

Pitt has not yet provided information regarding a search for a new director.

Michaels’ preliminary hearing was continued and is now scheduled for July 20.

This University statement, released May 24, is now removed from the counseling center’s website.

Editor’s note: This story has been update to clarify that Michaels was dismissed.