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Westminster Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Production and Possession of Child Pornography

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake today sentenced Eric Wayne Grinder, age 36, of Westminster, Maryland, to 30 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release for five counts of production of child pornography, one count of attempted production of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography, and witness tampering.  A federal jury convicted Grinder on those charges on February 25, 2019.  Judge Blake also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Grinder must register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Sheriff James T. DeWees of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the evidence presented at his three-day trial, from June 2013 through August 2016, Grinder sexually abused a minor female when the girl was between seven and nine years old, and produced images of himself and the minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Further, Grinder used his laptop computer and cellular phone to store and obtain images documenting the sexual exploitation of prepubescent minors, including the victim.

The evidence also proved that Grinder wrote a letter to an individual in July 2017, in which he asked that person to manipulate the victim into saying that she took the produced images of the abuse, not Grinder.  Further, Grinder repeatedly attempted to contact and manipulate the victim’s mother.

This 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Riley and Paul Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

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