A former SFA professor charged with possession of child pornography was released on probation Friday afternoon in the 420th Judicial District Court in Nacogdoches and will be registered as a sex offender on Monday.
During his probation, the defendant, Dr. Michael D. Stroup, will have a tracker on his computer that will monitor the websites he visits; be under community supervision for the remainder of his sentence; be required to complete 200 hours of community service; and will be fined $1,000 to be paid within 10 years. Stroup will also have to follow the restrictions under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which details the Sex Offender Registration Program. Stroup will not be allowed to leave the county until Monday.
In a hearing in September 2018, Stroup was sentenced to 10 years’ incarceration. Stroup and his defense attorney, Sean Hightower, filed for shock probation after the hearing that day. Shock probation is a legal policy by which a judge orders a convicted offender to prison for a short amount of time, then suspends the remainder of the sentence and replaces it with probation.
Stroup was arrested on campus in September 2015 for having pornographic images of minors on a University-owned computer. He was later given an alternative assignment while the investigation continued. According to Dr. Shirley Luna, executive director of university marketing communications, Stroup officially resigned from the University in October 2017.
Visiting Judge Dwight Phifer, a retired judge in Cherokee County in the city of Rusk, presided over Friday’s hearing. Edwin Klein, district judge of the 420th Judicial District Court, recused himself.
After court adjourned and Phifer left the courtroom, Andrew Jones, chief felony prosecutor at the Nacogdoches County District Attorney’s Office, asked for the judge to come back to make a ruling on the statutes of Stroup’s probation.
While waiting for the hearing to begin, there were eight people in attendance, including Stroup’s wife. Stroup, visibly thinner than he was at his last hearing in September, was dressed in a white and orange striped jumpsuit and remained in restraints throughout the hearing. He occasionally smiled to the group in the audience.