Ex-Tech prof guilty in Fulton, faces pending case in Clayton

ATLANTA — A former Georgia Tech professor was convicted Thursday of 76 counts of sexual exploitation of children in Fulton County Superior Court and faces similar charges in Clayton County.

Faiz Al-Khayyal will be sentenced later by Judge T. Jackson Bedford, said Georgia Attorney General spokeswoman Lauren Kane.

“Possession of child pornography is a heinous crime that exploits the most vulnerable members of our society,” Attorney General Sam Olens said. “I am pleased that today Mr. Al-Khayyal has been brought to justice.”

In 2009, while Al-Khayyal was on a teaching assignment in China, Georgia Tech identified images of sexually explicit material involving children on Al-Khayyal’s computer and notified the Attorney General’s office, Kane said.

A subsequent investigation by Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed images of child pornography on Al-Khayyal’s office computer in Fulton County. Upon his return from China, Al-Khayyal was stopped by customs officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Clayton County, and his laptop computer was confiscated on suspicion of possession of child pornography, she said.

Al-Khayyal was indicted on 29 counts of sexual exploitation of children in Clayton County in August 2011. Kane said because the laptop with images was seized as Al-Khayyal came through Hartsfield, Clayton County retains jurisdiction.

The Clayton County indictments allege Al-Khayyal, an associate professor at Georgia Tech, had child pornography on his work-issued Toshiba laptop. The digital images included minor females in sexually explicit scenes, according to the indictment.

A native of Saudi Arabia, Al-Khayyal earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States. After his 1979 marriage to an American, the couple moved to his native country where the husband and wife worked for Arabian American Oil Co. Al-Khayyal took the position at Georgia Tech School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1980.

He is the father of a son and daughter.

Assistant Attorney General Laura Pfister prosecuted the case on behalf of the state of Georgia. GBI agents led the investigation, headed up by former Agent Vaughn Estes.