Peter Cotty

Peter Cotty

A federal employee who had adjunct professor status at the University of Arizona was sentenced to 25 years probation Monday in connection with child pornography charges, officials said.

Peter Cotty was an employee of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, which has labs and offices on the UA campus but is not part of the university, said UA spokesman Chris Sigurdson.

Cotty, who had a "courtesy title" of adjunct professor, was not a paid UA employee and never taught classes, Sigurdson said.

Cotty was arrested in August after the Pima County Sheriff's Department received multiple tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children, saying that an internet service provider reported one of their users had uploaded child pornography to his computer, according to a PCSD spokesman.

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Cotty was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, but accepted a deal with the Pima County Attorney's Office in October and pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191


Caitlin is a watchdog reporter covering local government, the University of Arizona and sports investigations. She graduated from the UA's journalism school in 2014 and has won a dozen state awards for investigative and public records-based reporting.