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Man accused of trying to extort child porn suspect tells his side of the story

Francois Gariepy speaks to Eyewitness News from Kern County jail Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. He is accused of trying to extort a university professor after finding child pornography on the professor's stolen computer. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

A man who is accused of attempting to extort money from a California State University, Bakersfield professor granted Eyewitness News a jailhouse interview Sunday.

Francois Gariepy, 39, denied the accusations that he attempted to extort money from 63-year-old Theodore Ishida, a professor who is in legal trouble of his own after police said child pornography was found on his computer.

"I don't know, there might have been some money involved, but I didn't pursue that," Gariepy said of the extortion claim.

More than a year ago, Ishida was a burglary victim, and his computer was among the items stolen.

Gariepy ended up with Ishida's stolen computer, found that it contained child porn, and then allegedly tried to get the professor to pay him to keep him quiet.

Police have since recovered Ishida's computer and confirmed it contained child porn. Ishida has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child porn.

Gariepy claimed he bought the computer and did not steal it.

"At the time when I had bought, it was just told to me that it was acquired in a trade, so then I bought it for $100," Gariepy said.

He said that once he saw the child porn, he contacted his parole officer and willfully turned it over.

Gariepy said he contacted Ishida to tell him that he had the computer and that he was going to turn it over to authorities.

"I told him that he was done, that he was ruined man, that this is crazy and you're living a double life and time is up," Gariepy said.

He also said that he was just kidding about the extortion threats.

"I was just messing with him, you know?" Gariepy said.

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