Kansas City, Missouri - A former California prison inmate, who was sent to prison following his conviction on state sex offenses, was sentenced in federal court Thursday to 42 years for using a smuggled cell phone to distribute child pornography while serving time.
This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the California State Prison security office.
Eric Lee Bederson, 37, formerly an inmate at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California, was sentenced to 42 years in federal prison, without parole, on two child pornography convictions.
On Aug. 12, 2014, Bederson pleaded guilty to two federal counts of distributing child pornography. At the time he committed these offenses, Bederson was serving a 16-year state sentence in California for sex-offender convictions, including aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse and abusive sexual conduct of a minor.
Bederson’s California convictions stemmed from his time as a day care center teacher. When he was 21, he had been arrested following an investigation into suspicions that he was molesting multiple children and possessed child pornography. According to court documents, Bederson molested at least 20 children. A civil lawsuit resulted in a judgment of more than $10 million in damages.
Court records show that during his incarceration for those prior sex convictions in California, Bederson used smuggled cell phones to distribute numerous images and videos of child pornography while he was in state prison. As his release date approached, Bederson began communicating with other traders of child pornography via email. He amassed upwards of 40 gigabytes of images and videos in his multiple email accounts, which he used to actively trade, receive and distribute to others – including an HSI undercover special agent based in Kansas City, Missouri. According to court documents, these images and videos constitute violent and disturbing child pornography, including minors as young as 5 years old.
Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 8, 2011, he sent six emails to the HSI undercover special agent, which included a total of 164 images and 10 videos of child pornography. Bederson sent this child pornography with the hope and expectation that the HSI special agent (and others) would reciprocate by sending child pornography to him. Bederson also admitted that his email accounts contained multiple gigabytes of emails and attachments of child pornography.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1000 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.