Local/State

Couple investigated on UNC campus

Monday, November 19, 2012

Search warrants obtained by ABC11 show police have been investigating a couple employed on the UNC Chapel Hill campus for possible sexual activity involving juveniles.

The warrants, sought by Investigative Sergeant Beatus Swai of UNC Public Safety on November 8 - seek permission to search the office of 42-year-old Charles Hitlin and his wife Amy to look for computer files depicting sexual conduct "whether between adults or between adults and minors."

The warrants say the investigation began when UNC police were contacted by a detective with the Morrisville Police Department who works with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Morrisville detective Mike Deaton told UNC investigators that he had been speaking online with a person in an internet chat room on the website motherless.com who claimed to be female, and said she liked to have sex with multiple partners.

According to the warrant, the "individual also chatted that sometimes the neighborhood kids would come over to have sex. Detective Deaton then chatted/asked how young and the reply was a 15-year-old boy brought his 12-year-old brother."

The warrants go on to say that the person's husband liked to watch and took pictures.

The warrants say Deaton tracked the computer the person was using to one used by Charles Hitlin in his office at 215 Rosenau Hall on Pittsboro Street on the UNC campus. Hitlin was employed by the school as an IT manager.

Deaton also said the person in the internet chat session told him she worked as a graduate student counselor and her husband was an IT manager at UNC. She also said they had a black Labrador retriever.

The warrants also state Hitlin's wife Amy Hitlin worked at UNC as a graduate student counselor and had an office at 226 Rosenau Hall and another one at 228 Hanes Hall. The document say detectives searched all three offices.

A Facebook page for Amy Hitlin shows pictures of her with Charles and pictures of their black lab puppy.

The warrants list more than 10 computer storage devices and phones were seized in Hitlin's office. It also says investigators found a loaded 9mm pistol, ammunition, and a Gerber knife.

Because of that alleged discovery, Charles Hitlin was charged with felony possession of a firearm on campus. He is no longer employed by UNC.

Amy Hitlin, 44, has not been charged.

The Hitlins have retained attorney Meredith Nicholson in Durham.

"We are confident that this pending investigation will find no evidence of illicit or illegal material. Mr. Hitlin is not a predator, not a pedophile, and not a pornographer. He is not a danger to his community. He is a good and decent man who has found himself subject to the far-reaching arm of a government which persists in spying on the web communications of its citizens," she said.

"This investigation has been embarrassing to him and to his wife. They are looking forward to the investigation reaching a satisfactory conclusion. They request privacy during this time from the media and support from their friends and family that know them well."

Amy Hitlin was on administrative leave from her job.

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