U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on Friday sentenced a man from St. Peters, Missouri to four and one-half years in prison for downloading and sharing child pornography via a variety of social media apps.
Eric S. Crews, 38, will be on supervised release for life after his release from prison.
Crews used social media, including Kik Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp and TamTam, to send and receive child pornography. When Crews uploaded 14 files containing child sexual abuse material to Kik Messenger on Nov. 11, 2020 and shared them with at least one other Kik user, it triggered an alert to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to Crews’ plea agreement. After a court-approved search of Crews’ home by St. Charles County police on June 15, 2021, investigators found at least 5,400 images and 610 videos containing child pornography on Crews’ Apple iPhone.
Crews pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in October to a charge of possession of child pornography.
The St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force and the FBI investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.