By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
A man who confessed to possessing child pornography is still on the payroll of a Washington state community college because it is a "legal issue," a school official said today.
Benjamin Gran pleaded guilty in September to federal charges of receiving child pornography and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
In the interim, Gran has been on paid administrative leave at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., where he worked as an information technology specialist, school and union officials told ABCNews.com.
"We are bound by state laws and rules ... and being able to follow those rules is important," school spokeswoman Vickie Sheehan said.
She did not cite a specific law, saying she was "not privy" to all the details.
But the school had ample opportunity to terminate him from the payroll, said Greg Devereux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees, which represented Gran's employment interests until he pleaded guilty.
"In September, he pleaded guilty," Devereux said. "At that point, they [the college] could have acted aggressively [and scheduled a hearing to dismiss him], but I guess they opted to act cautiously."
A hearing wasn't held until Nov. 1, he said.
"We try in some instances to point them to a lesser discipline," he said. "In this case, we didn't do that and they simply said, 'We'll get back to you in two weeks from that meeting.'"
He said he is still waiting to hear from the school.
"I would expect a feeding frenzy around the issue," Devereux said. "I would expect them to do something sooner rather than later."
ABC News has been unable to reach Gran or his attorney for comment.
Investigators were able to track down Gran by decrypting the hard drive of a friend who was arrested in Amsterdam on child exploitation charges, according to a federal complaint filed earlier this year.
Gran was allegedly a participant in a now-defunct website called boylover.net.
According to the complaint, a joint investigation between U.S. and Dutch authorities resulted in at least 12 arrests from the website and the identification of more than 100 children who were sexually exploited.
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