September 19, 2013
A North Carolina judge showed little mercy to an Elkin man and sentenced him to a 10-year prison sentence for charges relating to child pornography.
Eric Blaine Lusk, 42, of Elkin, North Carolina, was sentenced by Chief Justice William L. Osteen, Jr. in a Greensboro courtroom after he plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of production and distribution of obscenity.
According to Randy Tysinger of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of North Carolina, Lusk received a 60 month sentence for the production and distribution of child pornography (count one), and he received an additional 60 months for the possession of child pornography (count two).
“In addition to the sentence, Lusk was given 3 years of supervised probation on count one and 10 years on count two,” said Tysinger. Lusk must register as a sex offender. The supervised release will run concurrent.
In the Greensboro courtroom, Lusk apologized to the family and stated that he was sorry for his crimes. He apologized to the family and children and asked for leniency.
Lusk faced a possible 15-year prison sentence, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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. 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. However, none of the members of the swim team was photographed nude or in sexual activity. Lusk’s activity with the girls’ swim team photographs is the basis of the obscenity charge. 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.
This case was investigated by members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, including the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, Elkin Police Department and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy.
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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
Captain Kim Robison of the Elkin Police Department said the stiff sentence sends a clear message that she hopes will help put closure for the victims.
“Its the right sentence and hopefully people can now heal,” said Captain Robison.
The Elkin Police Department official said police will continue to investigate any pursue any crimes against children.
From his first issue on Feb. 1, 2006, to his last on June 9, 2010, Lusk covered sports in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties for The Tribune.
Prior to working for The Tribune he 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, issue of the Tribune.
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