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Gig Harbor man charged with child pornography

Elwood Anderson, 46, was charged with possession of child pornography on Oct. 3. Authorities say that Anderson is the state’s No. 1 child pornography offender.

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TACOMA — A 46-year-old man considered one of the biggest child pornography offenders in the state was sentenced to 61 months in jail Friday.

Elwood Anderson will have register as a sex offender the rest of his life. His 5 year sentence was the max the state could dole out, Pierce County prosecutors said.

In July, investigators seized two computers and a hard drive from Anderson’s Gig Harbor home. Detectives located 9,000 images of child porn and more than 200 videos in his possession,  most featuring girls ages four to nine being sexually assaulted by grown men.

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Elwood Anderson, 46, of Gig Harbor, appears in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday, March 7, 2014, when he was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of child pornography. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

Anderson, a computer software engineer, is a married father of four girls. Investigators said he used sophisticated encryption programs to hide his pornography from investigators.

A Pierce County judge said though he sentenced Anderson to a maximum of five years in prison, he would have gone longer if he could given the violent, graphic nature of the videos and images Anderson possessed.

“That’s the most violent thing I can imagine next to shooting someone in the face,” Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson told the court Friday.

Anderson spoke to the court and apologized for what he called an “addiction” to pornography. He said his arrest was a “push in the right direction,” to finding help.

Many of Anderson’s family members and supporters where in the courtroom, but refused to talk to the media.

TACOMA — For nine months, detectives worked behind the scenes to find and charge 46 year-old Elwood Anderson.  He is a man police say is one of the state’s biggest child pornography offenders.

In July, investigators seized two computers and a hard drive from Anderson’s Gig Harbor home but at first they couldn’t find the criminal images they knew were there.

child porn stingThanks to the work of a digital forensics team, detectives located 9,000 images of child porn and more than 200 videos.  Most featured girls age four to nine being sexually assaulted by grown men.  Finally, early Thursday morning, police arrested the software engineer at his home.

“He actually told a neighbor that he thought he wasn’t going to get caught because of the techniques he used and the expertise but of course he was,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

Court documents show Anderson told a neighbor he’s addicted to child pornography and was glad he got caught so he didn’t have to hide it anymore.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s crime is disturbingly common.  Investigators can hardly keep up with the number of offenders actively buying and trading child porn.

“When we monitor the activity, we’re looking at that person who shares the most files.  There are so many folks out there doing it we have to go for the biggest players in the game.  Focus our attention on that,” said Det. Jason Keays with the High Tech Crime Unit.

“He is absolutely a prolific downloader and it is good to have him off his computer and in custody,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist told us every one of these arrests is an important win, but admits the problem is bigger than people realize.

“I’m happy we got another person like this off the street.  The downside is there are only three of us in our unit right now.  We’re kind of a one man band with a problem that’s way bigger.  We could use 30 people in our unit,” said Det. Keays.

If convicted, Anderson faces six to nine years in prison.  A judge set his bail at $250,000 and ordered he have no contact with children, including his own four daughters.

child porn stingGIG HARBOR — After a nearly yearlong investigation, the Washington State Patrol has arrested a man they allege is the No. 1 child pornography download offender.

Thursday morning, Gig Harbor police took Elwood Anderson, 46, into custody. He is a husband and father of four, was active in his church and even coached a youth soccer team. He is also a computer software engineer who, according to the Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, used sophisticated methods to hide thousands of explicit images of children on his computer. That made the process leading to an arrest a little more difficult.

Charging documents show Anderson had more than 9,000 images of child porn on his computer and 238 videos. The children depicted were girls between four to nine years-old.  According to a neighbor, Anderson had disclosed to him he had a long standing addiction to child pornography and had even sought counseling from the bishop of his church.

Anderson told detectives, “In a way I am glad I got caught — I’m glad it’s out there so I don’t have to hide it anymore.”

The investigation started in December 2012 and the I.C.A.C. (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force) obtained a search warrant in July allowing them to seize computers and other items from Anderson’s home.

Jason Keays is with the High Tech Crime Unit and helped uncover some of the images.

“We learned that he was a computer programmer developer so we immediately started looking in different spots in the evidence,” Keays said. Keays works in digital forensics and was able to crack the code that Anderson created to hide his criminal activity.

“I was the one that uncovered the evidence, but it took all of us to go through this case. It was a little different in the way that he had his evidence, or contraband, stored and hidden,” he said.

“He was able to hide things and manipulate the evidence and believed, I think, that we weren’t going to locate it,” “Curtis,” an undercover agent, said. “I’m just happy that we got another guy like this off the streets.”

Anderson was booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He will be arraigned on Friday at 1:30 p.m.  The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

SEATTLE — After a nearly yearlong investigation, the Washington State Patrol has arrested a man they allege is the No. 1 child pornography download offender.

Thursday morning, Gig Harbor police took Elwood Anderson, 46, into custody. He is a husband and  father, was active in his church and even coached a youth soccer team. He is also a computer software engineer who, according to the Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, used sophisticated methods to hide thousands of explicit images of children on his computer. That made the process leading to an arrest a little more difficult.

child porn sting“The case originated with the Seattle I.C.A.C. unit and looked at the contents of his computer electronically. At that point, they determined he was the No. 1 suspect in downloading and sharing child exploited images,” an undercover agent called “Curtis” said.

The investigation started in December 2012  and investigators with the I.C.A.C. (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force) obtained a search warrant in July allowing them to seize computers and other items from Anderson’s home. Due to his expertise, it took a specialized team to uncover 10,000 pornographic images and hundreds of videos hidden on his equipment.

Jason Keays is with the High Tech Crime Unit and helped uncover some of the images.

“We learned that he was a computer programmer developer so we immediately started looking in different spots in the evidence,” Keays said. Keays works in digital forensics and was able to crack the code that Anderson created to hide his criminal activity.

“I was the one that uncovered the evidence, but it took all of us to go through this case. It was a little different in the way that he had his evidence, or contraband, stored and hidden,” he said.

“He was able to hide things and manipulate the evidence and believed, I think, that we weren’t going to locate it,” Curtis said. “I’m just happy that we got another guy like this off the streets.”

Anderson was booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges of dealing and possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

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