Man pleads not guilty to extorting A&M professor
Posted 4/3/2013 3:21:00 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — James Arnt Aune was regarded as a fine scholar, mentor and friend by students and his fellow professors at Texas A&M University, where he headed the school's Department of Communication.

But Aune, who jumped to his death from the roof of a campus parking garage in January, battled depression in recent years. He struggled with the administrative duties of being a department head, and he was badly shaken by his 2007 battle with prostate cancer, which he survived but which forced him to face his own mortality, his widow said.

"He never really came all the way back," Miriam Aune said of his surviving cancer.

He began drinking heavily, and in December he started a sexually explicit online relationship with what he thought was an underage girl, according to prosecutors. He was soon contacted by a man purporting to be her outraged father, who threatened to expose Aune unless he paid him $5,000.

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Posted By: Producer Thomas  

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