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Justice News

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Westby Man Sentenced To 30 Years For Manufacturing Child Pornography

MADISON, WIS. --John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Michael Eales, 23, Westby, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 30 years in prison on each of two counts of manufacturing child pornography.  Eales pleaded guilty to the charges on August 16, 2013.  The two 30-year prison terms will be served concurrently.

Judge Conley ordered Eales’ 30-year prison sentence to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, finding Eales is likely to pose a danger to children after his release. 

Eales repeatedly sexually assaulted an 18-month-old child during live Skype video chats with an individual in Louisiana, who recorded four of the live visual depictions.  Law enforcement agents in Louisiana recovered the recordings during forensic analysis of that individual’s computer pursuant to a search warrant. 

Agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, in cooperation with other federal and local law enforcement agencies, executed a federal search warrant at Eales’ residence in Westby on June 20, 2013.  While at the residence, agents confirmed Eales’ identity as the adult male in the recordings.  Eales admitted that he had sexually assaulted the child depicted in the recordings approximately 20 times. 

United States Attorney Vaudreuil said, “This office is committed to vigorously prosecuting violent offenders such as Eales who target the most vulnerable members of our community.  This 30-year sentence sends a clear message that there is no place in a civilized society for people like him.”

“Eales’ reprehensible behavior has damaged an innocent child’s life in ways that may never be repaired," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago. "This sentencing should send a strong message to child predators that HSI and our partners will search them out and hold them accountable before the law. Words cannot describe the harm that these crimes inflict on children."

United States Attorney Vaudreuil also praised the outstanding coordinated response by local and federal law enforcement officials, saying, “This is another example of the teamwork we are so proud of in the Western District of Wisconsin.”

The charges against Eales were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Postal Inspection Service;  Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation;  and the Vernon County Sherriff’s Department.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin. 

Updated July 14, 2015