Controversial Kent State University professor sentenced to five months in prison for lying to the FBI

September 26, 2018

Controversial Kent State University professor sentenced to five months in prison for lying to the FBI

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Kent State University professor known for his anti-Israel views was sentenced Wednesday to five months in prison, followed by five months’ house arrest, for lying to the FBI.

Julio Pino, 58, pleaded guilty in April to one count of making a false statement to law enforcement. He apologized during his sentencing and said his decision to lie to agents “was borne out of confusion and fear.”

Chief U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan also ordered Pino, a Kent resident, to pay a $2,500. He will be on probation for three years and his Internet access will be restricted during that time.

Pino was hired at Kent State in 1992 and became a tenured professor, specializing in Latin History and the Third World. He has a history of making controversial statements in line with his Muslim faith and his anti-Israel views.

The federal charge against him, though, appears to stem from an FBI investigation into threats made by a St. Louis man against a family court judge presiding over the man’s child custody battle.

Federal prosecutors say Pino lied to agents regarding his interactions with a Facebook friend identified as “J.E.” Pino posted statements and images about J.E. and J.E.’s custody issues on social media between May 2015 and January 2016, according to charging documents.

J.E., which Missouri court records indicate is a man named Jason Eyer, was arrested in January 2016 for threats he posted on Facebook against the family court judge. A week after Eyer’s arrest, Cleveland FBI agents interviewed Pino in Miami, and Pino emphatically denied knowing him.

Following his charging, Kent State suspended Pino, barred him from going onto any of its campuses and said it was starting the process to fire Pino. Pino’s attorney Warner Mendenhall said after the sentencing that his client left the university in May.

An FBI investigation into Pino, a Cuban immigrant and U.S. citizen who lives in Kent, was made public in 2016 as agents interviewed students about him to see if he had espoused any radical views, according to reports at the time.

Pino dismissed those allegations as baseless. He denied ties to any political organizations or terrorist groups, in the United States or abroad, and said he has never discussed Islamic politics with students, faculty or campus employees.

Still, Pino has made his anti-Israel views known.

In 2014, he posted an “open letter” to “academic friends of Israel” that said they are “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians.”

He also wrote; “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza.”

Pino also shouted “death to Israel” during a speech by a former Israeli diplomat in October 2011 at Kent State.

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