Lusk sentencing shifts to Greensboro

July 26, 2013

The sentencing of Eric Lusk is delayed until September 5.

Lusk, 42, of Elkin, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of production and distribution of obscenity. He was to be sentenced in Winston-Salem on August 29 by United States District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder.

However, on July 25 the case was reassigned to Justice William L. Osteen, Jr. in Greensboro.

“It doesn’t happen everyday and we don’t get or keep records on why judges reassign cases, but the Lusk case will now be before Judge Osteen,” said a spokesperson from the clerk’s office for the United States District Court Middle District of North Carolina. “It could be because of a variety of reasons; a scheduling conflict, a vacation, a conflict of interest — lots of reasons on how it happens.”

Justice Osteen is the Chief Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Judge Osteen, Jr. joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. He filled the seat previously held by his father William Osteen, Sr. On November 1, 2012, Osteen became the Chief Judge of the court.

Federal prosecutor Assistant United States Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy confirmed the new date but would not comment on the shift from Winston-Salem to Greensboro, nor would he indicate if the move could impact the adjudicated sentencing of Lusk.

Defense attorneys for Lusk did not return our calls.

According to plea records and while acting as a professional photographer for youth sporting events, Lusk took close-up photographs of the pubic area of members of a girls’ swim team while the girls were wearing swimsuits. Lusk then anonymously distributed those photographs through file-sharing networks, labeling the photographs with names associated with child pornography, according to the release. By labeling the swim team photographs in that way, the photographs came up as search results for persons seeking child pornography on file-sharing networks, the release said.

When the distribution of the swim team photographs was traced back to Lusk, a search of his computers showed he possessed child pornography independent of any photographs he had taken, according to police records.

Lusk faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life.

Lusk, once a sports writer for The Tribune, graduated from the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. He worked at the Wake Weekly as sports editor, the Cary News as an education reporter and The Verde Independent in Arizona as sports editor, according to a Feb. 6, 2006 Tribune article.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. It was led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or via email at agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.