Elkin Photographer Enters Plea
GREENSBORO, N.C. – An Elkin man pled guilty today to possession of child pornography and production of obscenity, announced Ripley Rand, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Eric Blaine Lusk, 42, of Elkin, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of production and distribution of obscenity. Lusk entered his plea in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before United States District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder.
While acting as a professional photographer for youth sporting events, Lusk took close-up photographs of the pubic area of members of a girls’ swim team while the girls were wearing swimsuits. Lusk then anonymously distributed those photographs through file-sharing networks, labeling the photographs with names associated with child pornography. By labeling the swim team photographs in that way, the photographs came up as search results for persons seeking child pornography on file-sharing networks. However, none of the members of the swim team was photographed nude or in sexual activity. Lusk’s activity with the girls’ swim team photographs is the basis of the obscenity charge. When the distribution of the swim team photographs was traced back to Lusk, a search of his computers showed he possessed child pornography independent of any photographs he had taken. Lusk was released pending his sentencing on August 29, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Winston-Salem.
Lusk faces a maximum sentence of up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life.
This case was investigated by members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, including the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, Elkin Police Department and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy.
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 United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.