Local man denies child porn charges
BARRE — A Northfield man is facing several felony charges accusing him of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Eric Foster, 27, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to two counts of promoting the sexual recording of a child and three counts of possession of child pornography. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 35 years in prison and a $70,000 fine.
According to the affidavit from the Office of the Vermont Attorney General, the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had been conducting an investigation on July 10, looking for people in the state who were sharing and possessing child pornography through online peer-to-peer networks. An investigator on the task force had found an IP address that was sharing child pornography and belonged to someone living in Northfield.
The investigator obtained a search warrant for the street address where the IP address was assigned and executed that warrant Wednesday. According to the affidavit, the investigator spoke with Foster’s mother and stepfather, and they denied using peer-to-peer software and had no knowledge of any child pornography. The pair told the investigator that Foster had a laptop, but he was housesitting for someone that day.
According to the affidavit, the investigator went to that other home and spoke with Foster. At first, he reportedly denied using any peer-to-peer software and said his laptop was at his residence. He eventually admitted using a peer-to-peer program to download child pornography in July and August, authorities said.
The investigator said Foster admitted he had watched child pornography on his laptop as recently as Tuesday morning. He told the investigator the material he was looking for involved 13-year-old boys, the affidavit said.
Investigators obtained Foster’s laptop and cellphone, which they said held a photo that looked as if it came from the phone’s built-in camera. The photo showed a girl who appeared to be less than 10 years old naked in a bathtub, according to the affidavit.
Foster said the child was a family member and that the photo was taken by another family member who was a minor.
Foster was ordered held on $25,000 bail.
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