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Man accused of being state’s No. 1 downloader of child porn arrested

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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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  • Skip

    Gig Harbor? The retired Republican community? He was active in church too? He's going to enjoy some prison time with friendly fellows just like himself.

  • Christine Cox

    I am happy this monster is behind bars (and would be happier if he was six feet under…).

    However, it seems incredibly inconsiderate and heartless for the media to show the home where, presumably, his wife and children reside. This could be so dangerous. How unfair is it to put his children and wife in harm's way, when the lives of these innocent kids have already been permanently altered? Aside from the threat of backlash from the community, displaying their residence removes any privacy that they may need during this trying time to find healing.

    My heart goes out to all of his victims, including his family.

  • Ross

    The sober realization here is the potency of the addiction. I know the man, and can say that in most aspects of his life he did strive to do what is right. In this case, he failed disastrously, but I've come to understand the power of the addiction to bring good people down. It's otherworldly powerful, and a father and husband myself, I make every effort to avoid forms of entertainment that create an appetite for itself in my mind and in them minds of my children. Porn is a plague and a vice so terribly powerful.

  • (Not giving my name)

    Judge not lest ye be judged esco and Christine Cox

    I know this man, and I am highly disappointed in him. But he does not deserve to die, you are like a coin for saying that, saying he should die, then giving your heart to his family. And it is heartless for them to say his religion. Now all Mormon haters will persecute all of them. It doesn't matter if he is Catholic, or a Baptist, or whatever religion. I am saddened to see this article, and the heartless comments. Shame on you all who have said these things!! You don't even know him most likely!! Would you be saying this if he was your kin? I'm guessing you would't, if you have any heart at all. I hope this gets to you, and I hope that you don't tell anyone else they should die. This man is a good man, he just made some bad choices. I'm not saying he's innocent, I'm not saying he should get bail or be let free, but he does not deserve to die. It truly is heartless to show his home I agree, but Christine you should not be happy Satan has claimed another victim, it is truly a sad sight to see. You may be happy he can stop his wrongdoings, but do not be happy Satan has beaten him, a good man, who had a good life. I am one of his friends, and how would you feel if his family saw what you have said? Just think about that

  • Seamate33

    Why are you sticking up for him. Don't make light of his crime. If you were the parent of a 1 year old baby who was abused sexually, how would you feel. Crimes against children are horrendous. I too am an active LDS member and part of people expressing how they feel is part of the consequences he gets for his poor actions. Think about his wife and children. There lives are not torn apart and will never be the same. Viewing CHILD Porn is just as bad as making Child Porn. Do you know all that he has done? You are right we are not to judge, but don't criticize those who voice their opinions as well. It makes our religion look like we condone this behavior or are soft on people with this behavior. Think of all the youth and members who look up to this man. It is a SHAME and big DISAPPOINTMENT to say the least. He deserves whatever punishment he is given, even the harsh words. Christ even quoted that "“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea". The LDS church will hold him accountable as well, this is a very, very serious sin.

  • (Not giving my name)

    I'm not sticking up for him, and I know him well, we go to the same ward for Pete's sake! I'm not making light of anything, basically all I said was that you can't say someone should die, it's just not right. And don't think I'm not thinking about his family. I go to school with two of his daughters, and if I was the parent of that 1-year old, I would never forgive him, I never said I was forgiving him. And if anyone paid attention to our religion Seam, they would know it's one of our most talked about subjects as it is a huge threat. But who are we to throw the first stones? But you are right in what Christ said. But there is however a difference between looking and making it happen, I hate to say it but there is a difference, don't mistake that for defending him. And yes I know it is just as bad, it is horrible. We are not soft on this subject that's for sure. And I know he is being ex-communicated, I know all these things, but to see Satan claim another victim is sad, there is not denying. And I to looked up to him. It saddens me that I can't any longer. You just don't say people should die, especially if you don't know them, I don't want an argument Seam, but I do agree that it sounded like I was sticking up for him, and for that I apologize.

  • tonyg868

    I too know the man. I’ve known him as a friend for the last 10 years. The crime is dispicible. The man is not. He was the victim of a powerful addiction which led to horrible decisions. But he is a good man. He deserves whatever the criminal justice system allows and that’s all. The act of just “viewing” does not make this any less serious or a victimless crime. It’s just as bad. But let the courts deal him his justice.

    I for one will be praying for him, his family and especially all of the victims. There is no winner here. Everyone loses. So sad.

    • P ditty

      Did he make videos or just distribute and collect? I never saw this coming. I’m friends with his daughter and too are of the same faith. We should not look at this lightly and feel remorse for him. What he did is utterly disgusting. He deserves whatever punisent he gets.

      • (Not giving my name)

        I believe he just downloaded them, but I'm not sure. I agree we should not look at this lightly, but we should feel sorry for him, sorry Satan has claimed another victim.

  • Michelle

    I'm not sure how may of you are aware of this, but in many of these websites/networks in order to obtain viewing material you must also contribute viewing material… I am not accusing him of this but I wouldn't be the slightest surprised.
    I feel horrible for his friends and family, I can not imagine what they are going through.

  • anonymous

    I Don’t Care WHO He Is! Or how “good” he appeared to be. That’s what most offenders and even killers and serial killers do, you know. They fool the world with their seemingly “good heart”. I will not fall for it! A truly good man does not harm children in that way! Out their own families. How dare you down play it by saying he “just downloaded it”, liked that’s okay! WAKE UP!!! He Has Contributed Massively To A Sick And Twisted, Heartless Industry That Has damaged The Innocent lives of too many children! It Is people exactly like that who keep the industry moving and growing and make the demand for MORE child porn and feed the sick, twisted desires of those that actually do the physical harm to these poor innocents in orer to get the material. We should ALL be outraged! CHILDREN FIRST, not the people who prey on them or exploit them our feed the sickness. Shame on you. I bet you wouldn’t be saying that if you find that one of the pictures he has downloaded or distributed was your child! Quit playing it off as if it were the fault of addiction and that he had nothing to do with it. It is also people who downplay the crime who are helping to me this terrible awful crime. I hope they make an example of him!

  • anonymous

    I would like to make two corrections to the above comment. the last paragraph should read:
    It is also people who downplay the crime who are helping to MUTE this terrible awful crime. I hope they make an example of him!
    and I would like to change the word “Industry” to “Travesty” which is much more fitting!