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Child Exploitation
06/20/2014

Kentucky man found guilty of possessing thousands of child porn videos

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A federal jury has found a Lexington man guilty of receiving and possessing thousands of child pornography images. The guilty verdict resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Office of the Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit.

On Wednesday night, following three days of trial and four hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Erik A. Hentzen, 26, of the charges.

The evidence at trial established that from May 2012 to March 2013 Hentzen downloaded thousands of videos depicting prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

On March 23, 2013, investigators with the Kentucky Attorney General's Office executed a search warrant and seized multiple computers belonging to Hentzen. The computers contained more than 4,000 videos depicting child pornography.

The investigation began when authorities discovered that numerous child pornography videos had been made available for download over the Internet. Investigators then traced the location of the computer to Hentzen's apartment in downtown Lexington.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General; and Gary T. Hartwig, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), jointly announced the conviction.

Hentzen is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 15. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the charges. However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes before imposing the sentence. The Fort Mitchell Branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuted the case on behalf of the federal government.

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 1-866-347-2423 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.