An affidavit filed with the court says thousands of images of child pornography and at least 26 movies "depicting the exploitation of children" were seized from Merrill's home and his office at Central Michigan University.
According to an affidavit, Merrill, a university researcher specializing in internet censorship and the use of children in advertising, told police he "wanted to know if child pornography was as repulsive as he had read about." Defense attorney Dan O'neil entered a not guilty plea.
O'neil says the images on Merrill's computer had no connection to his work at the school. The university suspended Merrill and barred him from the campus. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison. State charges have already been filed in Isabella County against the former professor.
A hearing is set for tomorrow to determine whether Merrill is a flight risk or a danger to members of the community.