“We’ll continue to pursue any person who’s responsible for committing crimes against children,” said Elkin’s top cop.
Chief Monroe Wagoner said he too was stunned after learning of a too-close-for-comfort account that led to the arrest of Eric Lusk of Elkin. Lusk pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of production and distribution of obscenity, announced Ripley Rand, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
“This is the fourth conviction of these types of crimes that the department has investigated,” said Chief Wagoner. “We take these matters seriously. Hopefully it’s the last.”
According to the U.S. Attorney, the invasion of photographs taken by Lusk made their way onto the Internet.
“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.
Chief Wagoner said parents shouldn’t worry, but they should always remain aware of the danger.
“If anyone has any evidence of substantiated nature to believe their children have been victimized in a crime, we have a proven track record that we will investigate,” said Chief Wagoner. “In the meanwhile, people need to go on about their business, not trying to handle any matters like these on their own. Just report suspicious activity to us.”
Lusk once worked for The Tribune as a sports reporter prior to working with Lusk Media.
“I was completely floored when I first heard the allegations against Eric,” said Thomas Smith, a former Tribune reporter. “From my time working with him I always observed a talented photographer and sports writer working in a completely professional manner, a man with a family and convictions. But all that seems to be thrown out the window now, and it’s very shocking to me. With what has come to light, I have extreme sympathy for those involved, most importantly the young people and families whose trust has been broken in such a disturbing way. ‘Disturbing’ is the word which keeps coming to mind. It’s just a sad situation.”
This case against Lusk 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.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or email at email@example.com.