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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Perry County Husband And Wife Sentenced To Combined 47 Years In Prison For Child Exploitation Offenses

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Betty Jo Eckenberger, age 32, and James David Eckenberger, age 43, of Perry County were sentenced on August 1, 2018, by United States District Court Judge Yvette Kane for child exploitation crimes.  Betty Jo Eckenberger was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment followed by 15 years of supervised release.  James Eckenberger was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment followed by 15 years of supervised release. 

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the Eckenbergers sexually assaulted minors between 2008 and 2011, and took photographs of those assaults.  Both defendants were ordered to forfeit all electronic equipment used to take the images.

This case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney James T. Clancy prosecuted the case. 

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, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."


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Project Safe Childhood
Updated August 2, 2018