UCLA Film Professor Emeritus Pleads No Contest to Child Sexual-Abuse Charges

A University of California, Los Angeles professor emeritus has pleaded no contest to charges of sexual assault of children under 14-years-old—a fact UCLA was unaware of until the student newspaper The Daily Bruin brought it to the school’s attention. Thomas Fairleigh Denove, a professor emeritus in the School of Theater, Film and Television, was charged with engaging in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child, and committing a lewd act upon a child under 14-years-old. Denove’s bail was set at $1 million, which he posted in September. Denove was arraigned in November and retired just one month later. UCLA spokesperson Tod Tamberg said in a statement that the university was not aware of the charges against Denove until this week, when the Daily Bruin first informed them.

Denove chaired the Cinematography Department at the American Film Institute from 1988-1994, and has over 40 feature films to his name, according to his faculty bio. Denove is still listed on TFT’s faculty page and the school’s campus directory. “Denove is retired, has no teaching responsibilities at UCLA, and will have no involvement with the university while this matter is under review,” Tamberg told The Daily Bruin. Denove’s sentencing is scheduled for May 21.