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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Buncombe Co. Man Sentenced To More Than Six Years In Prison On Child Pornography Charges

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Erik Corbin Peterson, 47, of Black Mountain, N.C. was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger to 75 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Peterson was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.  Peterson was also ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution to known victims of child pornography.

Sheriff Van Duncan of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office joins U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, in December 2013, law enforcement received a tip that an online user was using his e-mail to send child pornography via the Internet.  Law enforcement determined that the e-mail account belonged to Peterson, who used it frequently to send to and receive from other unknown e-mail users images depicting the sexual abuse of children.  In May 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Peterson’s residence seizing a laptop computer, a desktop computer and an external hard drive.  Forensic analyses of those devices revealed that Peterson possessed more than 1,000 images of child pornography, some of which depicted prepubescent minors engaging in sadistic and masochistic conduct.  

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose said, “Peterson traded online images depicting the horrendous sexual exploitation of children.  Then, he had the audacity to describe his depraved conduct as ‘a kind of game that he and some of his friends started.’  The sexual exploitation of innocent and vulnerable victims is not a game. It is a crime.  And it is the type of criminal activity that my office takes very seriously.  We hope today’s sentence delivers a clear message that possessing, receiving and sharing child pornography will land you in jail for a long time.”

Peterson pleaded guilty in April 2016 to one count of possession of child pornography.  He is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. 

U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children.By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims.For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov

Updated August 16, 2016