Mt. Home Man Gets 210 Months for Sexual Exploitation of Minors
Defendant also Admitted Abusing 5-year-old Child
BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Joseph Earl Ebenhoeh, 27, of Mountain Home, Idaho, was sentenced in federal court today to 210 months in prison for possessing sexually explicit images of minors. Ebenhoeh appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise. Ebenhoeh was also ordered to serve 25 years of supervised release, forfeit the computer equipment used in the offense, and pay a $1,500 fine. In May 2012, Ebenhoeh pled guilty to an information charging him with two counts of possessing sexually explicit images of minors.
“This lengthy prison sentence demonstrates law enforcement's cooperative efforts to punish those who sexually exploit children,” said Olson, “and it also serves to protect other children from this predator. Protection of our children is a critical law enforcement function.”
According to the plea agreement, members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force determined that between November 10, 2010, and July 18, 2011, multiple digital files known to contain child pornography involving very young children were being downloaded and offered for sharing from a residence in Mountain Home. On September 28, 2011, a search warrant was executed at the residence and Ebenhoeh was arrested. He confessed to investigators that he had been seeking out images involving children as young as two years of age being sexually abused for approximately 10 years.
A Homeland Security Investigations computer forensic examiner analyzed the electronic media seized from Ebenhoeh's home and found several hundred sexually explicit images and videos depicting minors and images depicting bestiality. The images and videos were submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to be compared with their Child Recognition Identification System. The Center identified known victims of sexual exploitation from the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Texas, and Washington; and Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Belgium, Germany, and other locations.
According to the plea agreement, investigators also questioned Ebenhoeh about whether he had actually abused a child himself. He admitted having engaged in hands-on sexual contact with a five-year-old child more than 30 times, starting in the spring of 2011. Those admissions were taken into consideration by the court in rendering today's sentence, which Ebenhoeh must serve without the possibility of parole.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Peters said “ICAC investigators have utilized polygraph examiners over the last year during child pornography investigations. They report more than two-thirds of child pornography offenders who undergo polygraph examinations have admitted hands-on offenses with children, as Mr. Ebenhoeh did here.”
The case was investigated by the Boise Police Department affiliate of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Mountain Home Police Department.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc; for more information about internet safety education, select the tab “resources.”
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.