Theodore Ishida, CSUB Psychology Professor, was arrested on Dec. 8 and charged with possession of child pornography. Students who had previously taken courses with the professor have expressed shock and confusion.
CSUB released a statement on the day of the arrest. The university said that it was cooperating with authorities and that Ishida was placed on paid leave. The professor, who had worked at CSUB for the last 30 years, was barred from campus until further notice.
The Psychology Department has remained quiet about the case. However, Psychology students shared their opinions on the issue.
Marlene Shanon is a junior at CSUB and is majoring in Psychology. She took several classes with the professor including a course on death and dying. She recalls a particular day when Ishida brought his mother to class to talk about dementia.
“He told us about his mother’s illness and how it was leading to her death, and he even cried in class,” Shanon said. She added that it is difficult to understand why somebody who seemed so caring would commit those crimes, but she hopes that justice is served.
Other students shared similar stories, and most of their reactions to the news were in complete shock. On the other hand, a few said that Ishida’s behavior had always been eccentric and his views on mental illness were a bit unorthodox.
Angela Gleich, a senior at CSUB, said that she took abnormal psychology with Ishida and saw him during office hours when she needed help with her research papers. He often challenged her and others to look at things from a different perspective.
“He would challenge me to think about how other people find pleasure in things that society would consider abnormal,” she said. Gleich assumed that he was trying to encourage critical thinking, but perhaps he was talking about himself, she wondered.
Ishida was the victim of a robbery on August 2016. Personal items including his computer were stolen. Weeks later, Ishida was contacted by an individual who claimed to have discovered inappropriate material on the computer. He demanded that Ishida pay $50,000 in exchange for his silence.
According to court records, Ishida contacted the police to report that he was being extorted.
The Bakersfield Police Department conducted an investigation and were able to retrieve the computer. It was later reported that the computer contained images of minors performing or simulating sexual acts.
Court records show that his laptop had approximately 600 images depicting child pornography, bestiality, and rape.
It was later found that the professor downloaded the images from his office computer and then sent them to his laptop. He was arrested and his bail set at $10,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled on Feb. 27, 2018.