Lt. Ronald Godby took explicit photos of young family friend and communicated with her on Snapchat, police say

By Hilary Shenfeld
Updated February 05, 2016 11:35 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Mount Prospect Police Department

A police lieutenant at Northwestern University has been arrested on child pornography charges for allegedly taking sexually explicit photos of a young family friend and sending inappropriate social media messages to her, according to authorities.

Ronald Godby, 53, of Mount Prospect, Illinois was charged with felony counts of manufacturing and possessing child pornography as well as grooming, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Godby, who works in the police investigations division of the Evanston, Illinois university, has been placed on administrative leave and banned from campus, according to a statement from NU. Spokesman Bob Rowley declined to tell PEOPLE how long Godby worked there or what his duties entailed.

Godby, who also runs a photography business out of his home, has known the young girl since she was a child, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In 2013, when the girl was 13 years old, Godby did a photo shoot with her, driving her to “a remote location” and guiding her to pose in provocative positions, prosecutors say. Though she wasn’t aware of it at the time, he zoomed in and captured images of her genitals while she was wearing shorts, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He later allegedly began communicating with the girl, now 17, on Facebook and Snapchat, including trying to set up another photo session, sending her sexually suggestive images of women and a pornographic picture of a penis, prosecutors say.

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Police on Monday raided Godby’s house, vehicles and police office at Northwestern University, turning up pornographic images of the girl when she was 13, Mount Prospect police spokesman Greg Sill tells PEOPLE. During the search, Godly reportedly told detectives, “If you have enough for a search warrant, I’m [expletive],” Sill says.

News of the arrest prompted concern among some Northwestern students. “I was really shocked and grossed out,” freshman Megan Beach, 19, tells PEOPLE. “It made me uneasy. I was worried something had gotten past Northwestern. What was he still doing here?”

Another student, Jamie Spain, 18, said, “It makes me kind of nervous,” she tells PEOPLE. “Both the hiring of someone like that and that someone in that position thinking that’s okay to do.”

The university said they were cooperating with the police investigation, adding in the statement, “There is no indication of any risk to the Northwestern community from this individual at this time.”

Godby appeared in court on Wednesday, where his bond was set at $100,000. Neither Godby nor his attorney returned PEOPLE’s calls for comment.