Ex-Pa. special ed prof sentenced for child porn
PITTSBURGH – A former Western Pennsylvania university professor who specialized in special education has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges.
Balazs Tarnai, 36, of Greensburg, pleaded guilty Wednesday to production of sexually explicit material and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and lifetime probation, according to his attorney, Alexander Lindsay Jr.
Tarnai was charged in November 2011 with possessing child pornography after federal investigators said they found eight videos of two neighborhood boys using the bathroom in his home. Last year, federal prosecutors added charges that Tarnai made videos and photos of four young boys engaged in sexual conduct in 2008 and 2009.
Tarnai had previously said he intended to fight the charges, but changed his plea.
Tarnai was suspended without pay from Seton Hill University in Greensburg when the initial charges were filed. Tarnai also had taught children’s Bible study classes at St. Vincent Basilica, but has been suspended from that program as well, according to the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.
Tarnai was known for his research into students with severe learning disabilities.
He had taught at Seton Hill, a private, Catholic liberal arts school about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, since 2008, according to his biography on the university’s website, which has since been removed.
He previously taught at ELTE, the only university in his native Hungary with a department of special education.
According to his Seton Hill biography, Tarnai’s doctoral research “focused on social-behavioral aspects of socio-sexual education for students with cognitive disabilities.”