Fmr. Rider U. professor arrested on sex charges

March 15, 2011 9:03:22 PM PDT
The FBI has arrested a former professor at Rider University on sex charges.

Authorities say the professor showed up at the airport thinking he was picking up a woman and the woman's 13-year-old daughter from Idaho to have sex with him.

Instead, he was greeted by the FBI.

"It's nobody's business," the wife of Austin Winther told Action News outside the door of their West Mount Airy home Tuesday night.

Winther, a former Rider University assistant professor, has been charged with sex-related offenses as a result of an undercover online investigation conducted by an Idaho detective.

The Boise detective is a member of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Last October, the affidavit outlines how he linked up online with Winther, who documents say went by the handle 'Jammmesssss.' The detective's cover story was that he was a 40-year-old mom named Jill who had a 13-year-old daughter named Jen.

The affidavit says the detective asked if Winther was okay with "younger," meaning minors. The response in the affidavit, "if a girl wants it and not forced" and "if it is ok with mom".

The affidavit includes graphic chats and emails that Winther allegedly believes he is having with both the mother and the teenager over several months.

In November, the discussions allegedly began about meeting in person and in February, he allegedly wrote that he wired money to help pay for a plane ticket.

The plan was to stay at an airport motel.

He allegedly advises the fake teenager to "talk to mom and remind her you need birth control before the trip".

"Why does the press care about him, he's not a public figure?" his wife asked.

Winther worked at Rider University until October 2009.

School spokesman Dan Higgins issued a statement reading, in part, "We are surprised and dismayed to learn of these appalling allegations. We will of course cooperate with authorities in their investigation in any way we can."

Action News is told Winther remains in federal custody.


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