Prof Faceschild Porncharges Wheaton College Teacher Focused on Child Research

Article excerpt

Byline: Josh Stockinger

A Wheaton College professor and local church leader whose academic research has focused on children was arrested Thursday after a months-long child pornography investigation, authorities said.

Donald Ratcliff, 60, of Falcon Trail in Carol Stream, was charged with two counts of aggravated child pornography.

Ratcliff is a professor of Christian education at Wheaton College, where he has been a faculty member since 2006. He also is a "lay leader" at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wheaton.

Carol Stream Police Cmdr. Ken George said detectives opened an undercover investigation two or three months ago after they observed Ratcliff's computer trading child pornography online. The

probe culminated Wednesday morning, when police executed a search warrant at Ratcliff's home and seized computers, discs and hard drives.

George said police found several items of child pornography on the equipment, which included "computers that didn't belong to him."

"We're still going through all of it," George said, declining to elaborate.

A spokeswoman for Wheaton College had no immediate comment on the allegations Thursday but said Ratcliff is in the process of being placed on administrative leave. The Rev. Kurt Gamlin of Aldersgate also declined to comment, but asked that church members pray.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement: "The allegations against Mr. Ratcliff are very disheartening. …