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Press Release

Eagle River man sentenced to 35 years for sexually abusing minor for over 5 years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – An Eagle River man was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for sexually abusing a minor in order to produce and possess child pornography.

According to court documents, Michael Vernon Ross, 32, began sexually abusing a 7-year-old child in 2017. The abuse occurred weekly and lasted for multiple years.

Ross documented some of the abuse through pictures and videos kept on his cell phone. The defendant was in possession of over 450 photos and 30 videos of varied length depicting his sexual abuse of the victim.

On Sept. 3, 2021, classmates of the victim told school staff that they believed the child was being abused. The school took appropriate and timely action to report the abuse to law enforcement, which led to the prompt investigation and prosecution of the defendant.

Ross pleaded guilty in September 2023 to one count sexual exploitation of a child for production of child pornography and one count possession of child pornography. Ross was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison, 25 years’ supervised release, and is required to pay over $28,000 in restitution.

In imposing the maximum sentence for the production of child pornography, the court noted that while it doesn’t have the power to “bring back the victim’s childhood, there can be provision for just punishment.”

“Mr. Ross’ actions were deplorable. He preyed on a member of our most vulnerable community and caused irreparable damage to those involved,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska. “Individuals who choose to target children should expect to be vigorously investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in collaboration with our law enforcement partners. This case highlights why encouraging your children and peers to report suspected abuse is paramount, because it helps our teams continue to prioritize efforts to keep Alaska’s children safe.”

“The defendant’s years-long child exploitation crimes are among the most egregious and have no place in our society,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brandon Waddle of the FBI Anchorage Field Office. “May this sentence serve as a reminder that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have zero tolerance for child predators, and will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The Anchorage Police Department thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the prosecution of these offenses.  The sexual exploitation of anyone is unacceptable in the Municipality of Anchorage and all communities.  The abuse of our youth is a serious matter that will be diligently investigated,” said APD CACU Detective S. Davies. “The Anchorage Police Department encourages anyone who learns of a disclosure of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, or makes observations of those crimes, to please make a report.  It is our hope that the sentence received by Mr. Ross will bring closure to those involved and have a deterrent effect for others.”

The FBI Anchorage Field Office and Anchorage Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth Brickey and Adam Alexander 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 CEOS, 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

If you are a victim of child abuse or suspect someone you know is a victim, you can report to APD at or 3-1-1/(907) 786-8900, the state OCS at or 1(800) 478-4444, or the FBI at



Reagan Zimmerman

Public Affairs Officer

Updated February 14, 2024

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 24-10