While a University of Connecticut physics professor waits to see if he will face any legal action for allegedly allowing his son to build bombs, UConn may conduct its own investigation into the matter.
Juha Javanainen, 56, of Storrs/Mansfield, was in Rockville Superior Court Friday [Aug. 13] on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor.
Javanainen, who was originally arrested June 16, is scheduled to reappear in court Sept. 17, and is currently free on $5,000 bond.
His 13-year-old son was also arrested and is in juvenile court.
Javanainen’s arrest was the result of an incident in late January, when his wife, Anne-Marrit Javanainen, called police after her son set off a bomb in the family’s backyard on Hanks Hill Road, according to the arrest warrant.
State police from Troop C in Tolland said they discovered various “suspicious chemical mixtures” in the house when they arrived.
Neighbors reportedly said they heard an explosion around the time Anne-Marrit Javanainen called police, although state police did not confirm that.
According to the arrest warrant, Juha Javanainen also heard the bomb while driving to a nearby post office. When he returned home and learned his wife had called police, he called her an idiot, the document also states.
Javanainen told state police his son had detonated homemade explosives made of triacetone triperoxide, an acetone peroxide product. The substance is highly volatile.
A state police bomb squad found 1 or 2 ounces of a substance that appeared to be triacetone triperoxide and other explosive or volatile substances, according to the warrant.
The warrant also said the boy told police, in detail, about how he began making the bomb two days earlier, and police said he was “extremely intelligent” and had a “fascination” with bombs.
Police evacuated all the homes within a quarter-mile when they discovered the materials, and other local and state agencies were called in for assistance.
Javanainen told police he bought his son a chemistry set six months earlier and allowed his son to make “in his words, ‘little bombs,’” according to the arrest warrant.
He also told police he makes his son explain his experiments and urges him to take safety precautions and even approved of his son’s experiments.
He approved an electrical detonator his son made and used to explode chemicals, police said in the warrant.
Javanainen told police the chemicals used were not dangerous if used properly, but he was not always around to monitor his son’s experiments, which was one of the reasons for the arrest, according to the warrant.
He told investigators he has had chemicals shipped to his work address at UConn because some of the chemicals can be shipped only to a business address, according to the warrant.
He also said he caught his son cooling the ingredients to make acetone peroxide in a downstairs refrigerator, even though he told his son not to do so because the substance is dangerous, the warrant also states.
In March, the FBI confirmed that the sample submitted by the state police was the explosive substance they suspected, triacetone triperoxide.
Javanainen’s attorney, Mark Hauslaib, said Friday [Aug. 13] that he is still a professor at UConn.
UConn spokesman Richard Veilleux said Monday [Aug. 16] that the university will need to conduct its own investigation before taking any action.
“Until we have proof, we are not going to do anything,” he said. Javanainen is innocent until proven guilty, he said.
Veilleux also said UConn has not yet started an investigation into the incident, but would if officials found the facts warranted one.
He said an investigation of a UConn employee can result in a variety of penalties, ranging from counseling to termination. Investigations can also result in a letter of direction, warning or reprimand, or even suspension or demotion, Veilleux said.
Posted Aug. 17, 2010
[This article contains information from the Hartford Courant, as distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and is reprinted here through an agreement with The Chronicle.]