Meadville Tribune

Local News

March 13, 2013

Cambridge man sentenced to nearly 40 years over child porn

ERIE — A Cambridge Springs man on Tuesday has been sentenced to 37 years in prison plus lifetime supervised release for child pornography charges.

In handing down the sentence in U.S. District Court in Erie, U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin labeled Eric Lee Stafford, 33, a “predatory pedophile who is not deterred by his previous incarcerations.”

Stafford pleaded guilty in federal court in September 2012 to single counts of distribution and possession of child pornography. A charge of receiving child pornography was dismissed as part of a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to Christian Trabold, the assistant U.S. Attorney who presented the case.

According to information presented to the court, Stafford distributed and possessed computer images depicting minor males engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Prior to his federal child pornography offenses, Stafford had been convicted of two separate indecent assaults on minor males in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas. Stafford also revealed during sex offender treatment, which occurred in between his two indecent assault convictions, that he had sexually assaulted seven other minors.

During the investigation the authorities also discovered that Stafford was not in compliance with his Megan’s Law registration requirements.  

 Prior to imposing sentence, Judge McLaughlin said Stafford’s conduct was “particularly egregious” and was coupled with a “very troubling criminal history.”

David Hickton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Stafford.

The 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 the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood uses federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

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