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Child Exploitation

Wisconsin man sentenced to 7 1/2 years for possessing child pornography

MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin man was sentenced Tuesday to 7 1/2 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Bryan Erbst, 49, of Marshfield, Wis., was sentenced Oct. 30 by U.S. District Judge William Conley, Western District of Wisconsin, to 90 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. Erbst pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography Aug. 28.

In February 2011, an undercover special agent downloaded several videos from a peer-to-peer file sharing program Erbst was using. HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at Erbst's residence and seized computer equipment. A forensic analysis of this equipment revealed numerous child pornography videos and images.

In addition to the prison sentence and supervised release, Erbst was ordered to forfeit the computer equipment that contained the images, and pay $4,000 in restitution to the victims in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman, Western District of Wisconsin, successfully prosecuted this 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 working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.