Crime

Estill Eagle Scout sentenced for collecting, exchanging child porn

An Eagle Scout from Estill County was sentenced Tuesday to more than 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to collecting child pornography and exchanging it with a juvenile in Texas.

Some of the images collected and sent by Robert Emmanuel Evans depicted babies in diapers. Evans, 21, also sent the juvenile pictures of himself in diapers, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A forensic examination of his computer turned up "numerous videos and photographs" of children in sexual acts, the release said.

Evans, who was 19 when he began trading images online, is one of the youngest people to be sentenced for child pornography in the Eastern District of Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said.

"I think that goes against our typical image of child pornographers," Harvey said. "Typically we think of them as middle-aged males."

Harvey said the sentencing follows a national trend of teens and young adults facing child-porn charges.

"I don't know that there are any well-accepted theories as to why that is," he said. "Younger folks are just more comfortable with the technology. When their desire is to interact with other young people, they know how to use technology and use the language of other young people."

Harvey said this case, and the trend of child pornographers defying stereotypes, should send a "strong message" to parents to be vigilant about who their children chat with and text with.

Parents should be careful of uploading pictures of their children online, Harvey said. Many of the images that Evans had on his computer were pictures of babies in diapers that were uploaded to photo-sharing and social media sites by family members, he said.

"These images were not pornographic, but this individual used those images for sexual gratification," he said. "There is a thin slice of our society who do not react normally to those kind of images."

Evans pleaded guilty to one count of distribution and one count of receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood sentenced him to 135 months in prison and ordered Evans to be under supervision for the rest of his life once he is released.

Evans obtained his Eagle Scout rank in 2008. His project included landscaping at Creekside Baptist Church and bolting down church pews to prevent accidents and injuries, according to a news release, sent to the Herald-Leader at the time, acknowledging Evans' accomplishment.

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