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A former Utah State University student who invaded the school's computer system while writing a paper on hackers has pleaded guilty to a computer crimes charge.

Bryan Croft, 23, who now lives in Salt Lake City, was scheduled to go to trial in 1st District Court for computer crimes, a third-degree felony.Instead, he pleaded guilty in a plea-in-abeyance deal. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charge in 18 months if Croft obeys all laws and pays a fine.

If he violates the agreement, his guilty plea will be recorded and he will be sentenced.

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing, Croft inserted his own programs into a computer at USU's English department in May 1994 and used them to obtain other computer users' passwords.

He then used the passwords to access student records and computer accounts, prosecutors said.