LINCOLN — The son of former University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst has been charged with felony distribution of child pornography.

The charge comes after Jack Eichorst, 18, was taken into custody in November on suspicion of sexual assault. A court hearing for Eichorst was postponed for months before Friday’s hearing.

Jack Eichorst was charged Friday in Lancaster County Court. Judge Matt Acton set a personal recognizance bond at $10,000 and ordered that he not use the Internet. If convicted of the charges, he faces four years in prison.

According to a probable cause affidavit, investigators searched Jack Eichorst’s phone and cloud-based storage. The affidavit said investigators found messaging conversations in which Eichorst made specific requests, used sexually explicit language and shared links. It also said investigators found several videos and images of prepubescent children depicted in sexual positions and sexual acts.

The next court hearing has been set for March 21.

Acting Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon said the charge changed as the investigation continued. He declined to give specifics.

In a statement, the Eichorst family said they were pleased that the earlier allegation had been dropped but were disappointed in the new charge.

“Although we are very disappointed with the decision to proceed with an unrelated allegation, and will defend him vigorously, please know that Jack is a gentle, compassionate, vulnerable and trusting boy with autism,” the statement said.

The family went on to say that although Jack Eichorst recently turned 18, his level of sophistication is not that of an 18-year-old.

“Jack has significant developmental disabilities and special needs who lives a very private and dependent life. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support for Jack. We ask the public to please reserve judgment and respect the family’s privacy.”

Shawn Eichorst was fired Sept. 21 from the athletic director’s job, about five years after he was picked to replace Tom Osborne.

Eichorst came to Nebraska from Miami, where he was athletic director in 2011 and 2012, after working previously in the athletic departments at Wisconsin and South Carolina.

Emily covers K-12 education, including Omaha Public Schools. Previously, Emily covered local government and the Nebraska Legislature for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @emily_nitcher. Phone: 402-444-1192.

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