Former Resident of Whidbey Island, Washington Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Possessing Images of Child Rape
Investigation Revealed Defendant Used Hidden Cameras for Sexually Explicit Photos of Children
A former resident of Clinton, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight years in prison and 15 years of supervised release for receipt and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ERIC EUGENE LOBDELL, 48, was arrested in November 2015, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation. LOBDELL’s computer was identified in the investigation of peer-to-peer file sharing involving images of child rape. LOBDELL’s electronic devices were found to contain more than 100,000 images of child pornography including some images LOBDELL made with a hidden camera of young girls changing clothes and using the bathroom. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly called the conduct “really outrageous behavior by this defendant.”
According to records filed in the case, LOBDELL came to the attention of law enforcement in early 2015 when investigators uncovered child pornography on a peer to peer file sharing network. In June 2015, the investigation resulted in court authorized search warrants being executed at the home where LOBDELL was staying on Whidbey Island, Washington. Investigators seized multiple electronic devices and discovered thousands of images of child pornography. Some of the images were known series of child victims. Others were images LOBDELL made using cameras hidden in bathrooms of homes or hotels where he had lived or traveled. In one instance reviewed by law enforcement LOBDELL adjusts a small child’s clothing to photograph the child for his sexual gratification.
One of the victims speaking in court today said she was “devastated and heartbroken” when she learned someone she trusted had violated that trust. “The person I was meant to be was taken from me… I feel broken, violated and ashamed.”
Investigators believe LOBDELL did not share the photos he made of local victims over the internet, but Judge Zilly made note of the other victims whose images LOBDELL obtained via file sharing saying, “Those victims will be victims forever, because it is on the internet and will be forever.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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.justice.gov/psc
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force including detectives from the Bellingham Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.