A California oncologist has been charged with possession of child pornography, according to a press statement from the Department of Justice.
If convicted, Joseph Andrew Mollick, MD, 58, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Mollick is affiliated with San Mateo Medical Center in San Mateo and Seton Medical Center in Daly City, and is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
After making his initial federal court appearance before United States Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, Mollick was released on an unsecured bond of $50,000 with unspecified “special conditions” imposed.
According to the federal complaint that was filed July 13, Mollick allegedly uploaded a child pornography image using a Kik social media application. While Kik is now owned by MediaLab, at the time the incident occurred it was run by Kik Interactive, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada.Kik documents indicate that on August 30, 2019 Kik user “buckminster1” uploaded an image depicting child pornography, according to a criminal complaint written by Homeland Security Special Agent Nihad Custo. After Kik discovered the suspected child pornography, the content was removed from its communications system and the user’s account was closed. Kik alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who then turned the case over to US Homeland Security.
Homeland Security investigated the charges and obtained a federal search warrant on in August 2020, after linking an internet provider address to Mollick. Subsequently, Mollick was identified as the Kik user after issuing subpoenas to Comcast, his internet provider, and Apple, who provided the media files from Mollick’s iCloud account.
At least 2000 images and videos of child pornography were reportedly revealed on Mollick’s Apple iCloud account, and at least 800 files of child erotica were discovered. Agent Custo then submitted the media files to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for review, where it was revealed that 384 of the images and 530 videos included children who have been identified by law enforcement.
Mollick has now been charged with one count of possession of child pornography. The Justice Department notes that “a complaint merely alleges that a crime has been committed. Mollick is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In a statement, UCSF said: “We have a zero-tolerance policy for the crimes for which Mr. Mollick is being charged. Upon learning of this situation today, we immediately removed him from clinical service and placed him on involuntary leave status. His employment is being reviewed as part of an internal investigation already underway.”
Daniel Blank, the attorney who represented Mollick at his court appearance, did not respond to a request for comment.
Mollick attended medical school at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, graduating in 1994. He then completed a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, in internal medicine and went on to do a fellowship in medical oncology at Stanford University Hospital in California.
According to the criminal docket, a preliminary hearing is set for September 9 in San Francisco, by videoconference, before Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim.