News and Press Releases

Mountain Home Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Minors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 07, 2012

BOISE – Joseph Earl Ebenhoeh, 27, of Mountain Home, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court in Boise to two counts of possessing sexually explicit images of minors, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreement, members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force determined that between November 10, 2010, and July 18, 2011, multiple digital files known to contain sexually explicit images of minors were being downloaded and offered for sharing from a residence in Mountain Home, Idaho. On September 28, 2011, a search warrant was executed at the residence. Ebenhoeh, who was present at the time, confessed that he had been seeking out child exploitation images involving children as young as two years of age for approximately ten 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 of 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. They identified known victims of sexual exploitation from Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Belgium, Germany, and other locations. In addition, investigators questioned Ebenhoeh whether he had engaged in hands-on sexual contact with a child, and he disclosed that he has had sexual contact with a five-year-old child more than thirty times, starting in the spring of 2011.

The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 per count, and up to lifetime supervised release. According to the plea agreement, the parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 210 months incarceration, without possibility of parole, which is at the high end of the range specified in the federal sentencing guidelines, plus 25 years of supervised release.

Sentencing is set for July 18, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.

The case was investigated by the Boise Police Department, an affiliate of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, assisted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Mountain Home Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Canyon County Sex Offender Task Force.

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, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”