UNC Asheville professor placed on leave after amateur sting video surfaces

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RALEIGH — A University of North Carolina at Asheville professor has been placed on leave pending an investigation after an amateur pedophile sting video surfaced on YouTube.

Officials at UNC Asheville issued a statement, which said in part that the school “has been made aware of an issue involving a faculty member that recently took place off campus. This issue is currently under investigation and the University has placed the faculty member on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”

UNC Asheville takes allegations of employee misconduct extremely seriously,” reads the statement to students, staff and faculty. “University personnel matters are confidential and we are unable to provide additional information at this time. We will provide updates when we have additional information to share.”

George Heard, an inorganic and computational chemistry professor at UNC Asheville, is apparently the man featured in the sting video published by “Dads Against Predators – South Carolina.”

The video claims that Heard showed up at a mall to meet with a 14-year-old boy which he had met and been texting with using the social media app, Grindr. The video clip was posted late in the evening on Mar. 22 and has already been viewed over 25,000 times.

Viewer discretion is advised due to strong language and adult content:

In an update from the chancellor on Mar. 30, it was announced Heard had resigned “effective April 1, 2022, with a last date of employment on March 31, 2022.”

“Dr. Heard will remain on administrative leave, and is relieved of all University instructional, research, and service duties, until the effective date of his resignation. Due to the confidentiality of personnel information, the University will have no further comment on this issue,” the update said.

Heard’s bio on the UNC Asheville website says he has been at the school since 1999, and that prior to that he worked at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.  The bio also says he obtained his doctorate at the University Of Tasmania.

“I am interested in the electronic structure of molecules and transition state geometries, and in applications of computational chemistry to questions of bonding and atmospheric reactions.  I solve and write crossword puzzles, am the head writer for Asheville-based comedy group The Feral Chihuahuas, and am a Councilor for the Western Carolinas local section of the American Chemical Society,” Heard’s bio reads.

Voter registrations records show Heard is a resident of Asheville and a member of the Democratic Party.

Heard has also been a regional director for the North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO), which is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “attract and retain the pool of K-12 students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers in North Carolina.”

According to the NCSO website, the organization hosts annual science tournaments on higher education and public school campuses across the state.