The 68-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill physics professor arrested in Argentina early this year after being caught with more than 4 pounds of cocaine hidden in a suitcase has been convicted by an Argentine court.
Paul Frampton, the Oxford-educated Louis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, told investigators he was duped into unknowingly carrying the drugs after being lured first to Bolivia with a promise of meeting a famous bikini model.
He was sentenced to four years and eight months of confinement Monday afternoon after three days of hearings. He expects to serve his sentence under house arrest at a friend’s apartment in Buenos Aires.It sounds like the prosecution has him dead to rights, with the drugs in hand. However, it's pretty clear that he thought that he was communicating with the bikini model in question.* (N.B. Google searches will be guaranteed to be Not Safe For Work.) From my perspective, it's kind of sad. I suspect (although I could be completely wrong) that someone younger/more-Internet-savvy or someone with somewhat stronger family/community ties would not have fallen for this classic confidence trick.
Naturally, his salary and tenure are at risk, which is generating its own little controversy.
What I find worthwhile for discussion is that Professor Frampton appears to be serving his role as a professor while in legal trouble in Argentina:
Frampton contends that he has been doing his job while incarcerated, including writing research papers and advising students by telephone and email.I would be interested to hear from readers about professors who have been similarly out-of-pocket (overseas? on sabbatical? in space?), and whether or not they have continued to carry out their duties as professors.
*As I said on Twitter, if Christina Hendricks** e-mailed me and asked me to smuggle some drugs for her, I might consider it. (And then, being reminded of the faithful love of my wife and the smiles of my children, I would decide against it.) But first, I would ask myself -- why is Christina Hendricks e-mailing me?
**perhaps wise not to Google her at work, either.