BOISE, Idaho — A 27-year-old man from Mountain Home pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to two counts of possessing sexually explicit images of minors in a case investigated by the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.
In a plea agreement, Joseph Earl Ebenhoeh admitted to downloading sexually explicit images of minors, some of children as young as 2 years old, between November 2010 and July 2011.
ICAC affiliates U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Boise Police Department, the Mountain Home Police Department, the FBI and the Canyon County Sex Offender Task Force participated in the investigation.
Task force agencies executed a federal search warrant at Ebenhoeh's residence in September 2011. Ebenhoeh, who was home at the time, confessed to investigators that he'd been downloading child pornography for approximately 10 years. He also admitted to sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy more than 30 times beginning in spring 2011.
HSI forensic examiners found several hundred images and videos depicting child exploitation on computer equipment seized from Ebenhoeh's residence. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says the collection included known victims from at least 12 states and seven foreign countries.
The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 per count. According to the plea agreement, the parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 210 months incarceration, without the possibility of parole, which is at the high end of the range specified in the federal sentencing guidelines, plus 25 years of supervised release.
Ebenhoeh's sentencing is set for July 18 before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho and ask to speak with the coordinator.