North Pole Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Pornography Crimes
Defendant Was Convicted at Trial; Previously Accused of Inappropriate Sexual Conduct with Minors
Fairbanks, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Eric Whitebread, 43, resident of North Pole, Alaska, was sentenced on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to 15 years in prison, to be followed by a 35-year term of supervised release, for distribution and receipt of child pornography.
According to evidence presented at trial, on two different days in June 2015, Whitebread distributed files of child pornography through an online file-sharing network. Upon execution of a search warrant at Whitebread’s North Pole residence, law enforcement located his computer. Located on the computer were 618 images of child pornography that had been downloaded through the file-sharing network between July 14, 2015, and August 24, 2015. Contextual evidence discovered by law enforcement during a forensic examination of Whitebread’s computer – including data recovered from millions of lines of computer code – located numerous indicators that child pornography was being downloaded and viewed on the computer at times when Whitebread’s text messages showed him to be home and online. In addition, the computer did not show any activity at times the evidence showed Whitebread was away from the house.
Whitebread, his wife, and two other witnesses testified in the defense case. Each stated that multiple people came and went from Whitebread’s property and had access to the computer, and that the password was posted on a Post-It note left on the device. This testimony was inconsistent with the fact that the computer was seized from Whitebread’s private residence without any Post-It notes. Whitebread and his wife also stated that the account through all of the child pornography activity occurred was a locked account to which they did not have access, and that they only accessed the computer for work purposes, and only through a separate account that had been created in June 2015. In rebuttal, law enforcement demonstrated that this testimony was false, as the separate account was actually created in November 2013.
As part of sentencing, the United States introduced evidence that the defendant had previously been accused of inappropriately touching a minor child, and of having been engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old when he was in this 20’s.
At sentencing, Judge Beistline described the evidence against Whitebread as “overwhelming.” Judge Beistline noted that Whitebread had attempted to obstruct justice with his false trial testimony, was in “complete denial” about what he had done, and that he “had shown absolutely no remorse” for his conduct. Judge Beistline went on to add that by downloading and distributing child pornography the defendant had “victimized helpless minors by contributing to the market for child pornography.” Because of the marketplace for child pornography, the defendant “must be deterred, and others similarly-situated must be deterred,” said Judge Beistline.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Anchorage Police Department, Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Veldhuis and Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide and the 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.