LAKE CHARLES, La. - Eric Boutte, 38, of Lake Charles, La., was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for production and possession of child pornography, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Boutte was also sentenced to serve a term of supervised release for life following his release from prison. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana.
Boutte pleaded guilty in May 2010 to one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Boutte was involved in an Internet file sharing program called Lime Wire, which allows people to search for and download images or movies from other Lime Wire users' computers.
The investigation revealed that the defendant was downloading hard core child pornography which included pornography involving very young children and infants. The defendant admitted to downloading the hard core child pornography. Boutte also admitted to videotaping an 11-year-old boy's private areas and videotaping and molesting a 4-year-old boy wherein Boutte could be seen sexually exploiting the boy.
At sentencing, Judge Minaldi stated that the case was as "disturbing" as any she had presided over in over 20 years. She further stated that this was especially true considering the sadistic nature of the child pornography the defendant downloaded and the exploitation of actual children in his neighborhood.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley stated, "We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who exploit the children of our community. The U. S. Attorney's Office, along with its local, state, and federal partners, are firmly committed in the fight against all aspects of child production, distribution and possession offenses. These lengthy sentences serve as a stern warning to all predators that we will protect the most vulnerable members of our society."
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.