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USF employee charged with drug possession

A USF teaching assistant is being held in custody after being charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Tampa Police arrested William T. Charnock, of 15053 Silversmith Circle, Spring Hill, on Feb. 6 after stopping him to exercise an outstanding warrant issued by Hernando County police. According to a police report, a search of Charnock’s Isuzu Rodeo revealed two pieces of crack cocaine and a glass drug pipe. A field test on residue from the pipe came back positive as cocaine, police said.

Prior to the arrest, Charnock did not show up to teach his Tuesday night macroeconomics class on Jan 27, said Donald Bellante, chair of the economics department.

“He missed a class. Since he didn’t call, I was somewhat concerned,” Bellante said. “I didn’t know the nature of the problem until my department was contacted by the police.”

Bellante said the police informed him there was a warrant for Charnock’s arrest for skipping bail. At the following class, taught by Bellante, University Police arrived outside room 1201 in Ferguson Hall to see if Charnock was present.

“The policeman told me that they looked through the door and saw that he wasn’t there,” Bellante said. “They weren’t going to come in; they just wanted to wait for him.”

Charnock, who was in his third year of study in a Ph.D. program, also taught a macroeconomics class last semester. According to Bellante, the economics department has initiated dismissal proceedings against the 39-year-old.

“When someone is admitted to a doctoral program, they have to provide information to indicate that they have never been convicted of a crime. As far as criminal investigations, no, the university doesn’t do that,” Bellante said.

Suzanne Dieringer is now teaching Charnock’s class. Bellante said the mid-semester change of teacher had naturally concerned some of the students

“When I took the class, the students were somewhat upset that the class was going to be taken over by someone else,” Bellante said.