Mtn. Home Man Admits Child Pornography Offense
Son Previously Convicted; Currently Serving 210 Month Sentence
BOISE – Michael John Ebenhoeh, 53, of Mountain Home, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court in Boise to possession and access with intent to view sexually explicit images of minors, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Ebenhoeh was charged by information on March 7, 2013.
According to court documents, members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force determined that between November 10, 2010, and July 18, 2011, multiple digital files known to contain child pornography involving very young children were being downloaded and offered for sharing from a residence in Mountain Home. On September 28, 2011, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence and seized several computers. At the time of the search, authorities arrested Michael Ebenhoeh’s son, Joseph. Joseph Earl Ebenhoeh, 27, subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing sexually explicit images of minors. He was sentenced in July 2012 to 210 months in federal prison.
On the day of the search, an investigator approached Michael and told him that a file containing child pornography had been found on his computer. At that time, Michael denied knowing how the child pornography files were on his computer.
Further investigation determined that separate Internet accounts in the home were associated with Ebenhoeh and his son, and that the computer belonging to Michael had not been used by his son. According to the plea agreement, investigators re-interviewed Michael, who then admitted he had lied to police during the earlier interview. He further admitted that four or five times a week over the previous year he had used the computer to search online for pornography depicting children. Forensic examination of Michael’s computer found sexually explicit images of children between two and fourteen years of age. Several children were identified as sexual abuse victims from Missouri, Nevada, Maryland and Washington State.
Ebenhoeh faces up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to lifetime supervised release. Sentencing is set for July 22, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The case was investigated Boise Police Department detectives who are members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), assisted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Mountain Home Police Department.
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, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.” For more information about registered sex offenders in Idaho, visit www.isp.idaho.gov/sor_id/.