COLLEGE PARK — A University of Maryland freshman was arrested this week on charges of distributing child pornography and crossing state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, according to a criminal complaint.
The student, Akshay Rajshekar, 18, of Salisbury, was arrested Monday after he responded to a Craigslist “casual encounters” advertisement placed by an undercover Washington, D.C., police officer, according to the complaint filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington.
Rajshekar travelled from Maryland to the District on Monday believing he was going to have a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl, according to the complaint, and was arrested when he arrived.
While arranging the meeting with the undercover officer, whom he believed to be the father of the non-existent 12-year-old girl, Rajshekar sent the officer six images of child pornography, according to the complaint. Rajshekar is being held without bond, pending a hearing next week.
Rajshekar was already awaiting trial on 30 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography, stemming from an arrest in Wicomico County last year. He was out on bond and attending classes at the University of Maryland when he was arrested this week.
Rajshekar’s defense attorney in the Wicomico County case, David Irwin, said it was premature to comment on the charges filed this week. Irwin said he hoped to resolve the state charges against Rajshekar in Wicomico County.
If convicted, Rajshekar could face up to 50 years in prison on the federal charges filed this week. If convicted on the state charges, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined up to $25,000.
University of Maryland Vice President for Student Affairs Linda Clement said the university first learned of Rajshekar’s Wicomico County charges Thursday, after news reports detailed his arrest in the District.
Clement said the university is unable to monitor whether its students are charged with crimes.
“It would probably be an impossible thing to keep track of everything going on in every police jurisdiction in the country and abroad, because our students come from all over the world,” Clement said.