ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Anchorage man was sentenced Friday to 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.
Scott Hunter Sauer, 65, pleaded guilty in February to knowingly possessing child pornography. Prosecutors stated in court documents that Sauer was an extremely organized collector of child pornography, noting that his organization "speaks to the amount of time and energy he devoted to child pornography. His sexual interest in children was not a passing interest, but a myopic one."
Sauer took elaborate steps to cover his tracks by using encryption software. Despite his efforts, investigators were able to recover evidence of child pornography through forensic examination of digital storage devices seized from his home and workplace. The evidence portrayed sexual abuse victims ranging from infants to pre-teens, with some being subjected to violent sadistic and masochistic conduct. Special agents also found Internet chats between Sauer and a suspect in California that suggested Sauer had traded more than 5,000 explicit images and videos with that one individual.
In sentencing Sauer, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess noted the seriousness of his offense, the need to deter this kind of conduct and protect the public, and the need for treatment. Following his release from prison, Sauer must serve 20 years of supervised release, register as a sex offender, and participate in sex offender assessment and treatment. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska prosecuted the case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.