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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 11, 2020

State Court Victim Advocate Charged with Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Material

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that ROBERT ECCLESTON, 56, of Canton, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with distribution of child pornography.

As alleged in court documents, covert FBI personnel in two different field offices outside of Connecticut have been monitoring various public groups on the social medial application Kik.  In August and September 2020, Eccleston, using the Kik username “hartfordctguy,” distributed numerous pornographic images and videos of children in these Kik groups, including images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of toddlers and prepubescent children.

Eccleston is employed as a Victim Services Advocate for the Hartford Superior Court in Hartford.

If convicted of the charge of distribution of child pornography, Eccleston faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Following his arrest, Eccleston appeared via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson.  He is detained pending a detention hearing that is scheduled for December 14 at 3 p.m.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Avon Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala.

This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated December 11, 2020