UC Berkeley budget director arrested after child porn investigation

Berkeley Police station. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Update, 6:45 p.m. UC Berkeley “is in the process of putting Jon Bain-Chekal on administrative investigatory leave,” Diana Harvey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications & Public Affairs, told Berkeleyside in a prepared statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, no additional information will be provided.”

Original story: A Berkeley man who oversees UC Berkeley’s operating budget was arrested Thursday morning in connection with a child pornography investigation by the Berkeley Police Department, according to authorities and records online.

Jon Bain-Chekal, 49, was arrested at 8:45 a.m. on suspicion of possession of child pornography, a misdemeanor, according to jail records online.

Berkeley Police spokesman Officer Byron White said BPD’s investigation began with a tip from Internet Crimes Against Children and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Those agencies “received a Cyber tip regarding child pornography from an online account. The account was created and accessed from Jon Bain-Chekal’s residence and work.”


According to BPD, “a search warrant on the online account revealed additional images of child pornography.” On Thursday, police served search warrants at Bain-Chekal’s home and work, BPD said: “Images of child pornography were recovered from a laptop during the search warrant.”

Police said Bain-Chekal admitted, during an interview, that he had viewed and possessed child pornography. He was cited and released from jail Thursday.

White said BPD confiscated devices Thursday “that still need to be forensically searched.” He said charges could potentially be added later and that the misdemeanor charge could potentially change. White declined to say how many pornographic images or potential victims authorities have identified in connection with the case so far.

According to his listing in UC Berkeley’s online campus directory, Bain-Chekal is the director of the UC Berkeley Operating Budget and works at University Hall. On the university’s webpage for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Bain-Chekal is listed as the executive director of the Financial Planning and Analysis team, which “manages the Budget Process; Central Resource Management; Financial Planning, Reporting, & Analysis; Financial Systems Management; and VC Administration Finance Management.”

Berkeleyside has asked UC Berkeley for comment and will update this story if it is provided.

Because Bain-Chekal is no longer in custody, no information was immediately available regarding when he may appear in court.

BPD said the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force — and its members from the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office, Contra Costa County sheriff’s office, Concord Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations — assisted in the investigation.

Emilie Raguso is senior reporter at Berkeleyside. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.com. Phone: 510-459-8325.