WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty Tuesday to producing and possessing child pornography in 2015, and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place between 2014 and 2015.
This guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is investigating this case with the cooperation of the Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Police Department.
Jeffrey H. Ernisse, 61, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lynn S. Adelman to two counts of producing child pornography, one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in the Philippines, and one count of possessing child pornography.
According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, while law enforcement was investigating Ernisse for producing child pornography in Wisconsin, they discovered evidence of additional child pornography production from the Philippines on Ernisse’s digital devices.
While traveling in the Philippines in March 2015, and again in April 2015, Ernisse produced child pornography with a prepubescent minor.
Between June 2014 and April 2015, he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in the Philippines. In December 2015, Ernisse possessed child pornography in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney William M. Grady of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), and Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan J. Paulson of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Ernisse’s sentencing is set for July 11, 2019.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2018, more than 3,000 (3191) child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 850 (859) victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.