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UNO instructor charged with sexual assault; police say he also took photos of 15-year-old girl
special report

UNO instructor charged with sexual assault; police say he also took photos of 15-year-old girl


A graduate assistant teacher at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has been charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child on allegations that he had sex multiple times with a 15-year-old girl he was tutoring.

Zhijun Xia, 29, an instructor in UNO’s math department, also has been charged with creating child pornography for taking photos of the girl performing sex acts on him in his UNO office, police say. If convicted, Xia, originally from China, would face a minimum of three years and a maximum of more than 100 years in prison.

mug of Zhijun Xia

Zhijun Xia

According to a warrant for Xia’s arrest, the girl, now 17, went to UNO’s public safety office June 3 and to Omaha police a week later and laid out the following accusations:

The girl went to Xia for tutoring once a month. Xia began texting the girl, then 15, in June 2018.

The two began having sex a month later. The two would meet and engage in sex acts and intercourse in his car at Center Park at 159th and Valley Streets, in the parking lot of a Goodwill retail store near 181st and Q Streets and in Xia’s office on the UNO campus.

Xia took photos of the girl performing a sex act, and officers recovered those photos from the girl’s phone.

They also recovered several text messages in which Xia talked about renting a hotel room so they could have sex and whether or not he would use a condom.

The girl told officers that she and Xia had sex five to 10 times before she turned 16. Their relationship continued for nearly a year and a half, ending this past January.

Under Nebraska law, it is illegal for anyone 19 or older to have sex with anyone 15 or younger.

According to his LinkedIn page, Xia has been at UNO for six years, pursuing master’s degrees in economics and math. In January 2019, he became a graduate teaching assistant, teaching undergrads in algebra classes and at the UNO math lab.

Douglas County Judge Sheryl Lohaus set Xia’s bail at 10% of $200,000, meaning he must post $20,000 cash to get out of jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in July to determine whether Xia will be bound over for trial in district court.

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Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

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