News

Gaithersburg Man Sentenced to Almost 6 Years for Receipt of Child Pornography


Defendant Used the Profile of a 14 Year Old Boy for his MYSPACE Account

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2008

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Eric Warren Cochran, age 40, of Gaithersburg, Maryland today to 70 months in prison, followed by supervised release for life, for receipt of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Williams also ordered the Cochran may not have access to a computer without the express advance permission of his probation officer and is to have no unsupervised access to minors. Cochran was taken into custody today to begin serving his sentence.

According to his guilty plea, FBI agents identified Cochran as a person who received and distributed images of child pornography through a previous investigation in Charlotte, North Carolina. FBI agents executed a search warrant at Cochran’s residence and Cochran admitted that there were approximately 100 images of child pornography on his computer, which was transmitted to him via e-mail and the internet by unknown individuals, with whom he had been chatting online. Cochran told the FBI that he used specific screen names to trade child pornography and that although his wife also used the home computer, Cochran was the only one with access to those particular screen names. Further, Cochran said that he had used the computer to transmit images of child pornography through his e-mail, and he had been doing so for seven or eight years. Analysis of Cochran’s computer hard drive revealed that Cochran used his computer and the internet to receive images, identified and recovered by law enforcement through previous investigations, which document the sexual abuse of real children, including prepubescent minors.

On March 14, 2007, Cochran admitted to FBI agents that he set up a MYSPACE account and conducts searches on MYSPACE for members who are boys around thirteen or fourteen years old and places links to those members on his page. Cochran advised the agents that he was having on-line conversations with the boys. The FBI located a homepage for Cochran’s username that displayed a picture of a young male boy. The boy’s profile indicated his name is "ERIC" and that he is 14 years old and resides in Germantown, Maryland.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Sartori, who prosecuted the case.

 

 

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