ST. LOUIS — A man from St. Peters, Missouri, on Thursday admitted to downloading and sharing child pornography through a variety of social media apps.
Eric Crews, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography before US District Judge Rodney W. Sippel. The crews admitted to using social media to send and receive child pornography, including through large group chats.
The investigation began when Crews uploaded 14 files containing child sexual abuse material to Kik Messenger on November 11, 2020 and shared them with at least one other Kik user.
A tip from the messaging app to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led to a court-authorized search of Crews’ home by St. Charles County Police on June 15, 2021. Investigators found at least 5,400 images and 610 videos containing child pornography on Crews’ Apple iPhone. Also on the phone was evidence Crews used Viber, WhatsApp and TamTam accounts to obtain child sexual abuse material, his consent statement said.
The crews face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both if convicted on Jan. 6.
The St. Charles County Police Department and the FBI were investigating this case. Assistant US Attorney Jillian Anderson prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Justice Department in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Division, Project Safe Childhood provides federal, state, and local resources to better identify, arrest, and prosecute individuals who exploit children online track as well as identify and track rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.