Librarian charged in child porn investigation

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Eric Green

Nine months of investigation leads to 15 felony charges and job dismissal

Greg Marsten | Staff writer

BALSAM LAKE – The Polk County District Attorney’s Office has filed a 15-count felony indictment against Eric D. Green, 33, Frederic, on charges of possession of child pornography, after an investigation that lasted over nine months and used state forensics experts.

Up until the charges were filed, Green had been on a leave of absence since mid-November of 2016 from his job as the Frederic Library director, a position he had just started in March 2016.

Green’s lengthy absence from the library had compounded confusion in the village since the start of the investigation, which included an extensive confiscation of equipment from the library, as well as at Green’s Frederic home.

According to the criminal complaint, filed by the Polk County District Attorney’s Office on July 28, the investigation started on Oct. 20, 2016, when a Polk County Sheriff’s Department investigator was contacted by the Waukesha Police Department, which was working on a case involving alleged file sharing of child pornography, specifically using a so-called “peer-to-peer” technology, and that a Frederic address was connected to the same P2P investigation.

One of the addresses that came back was connected to Green’s home Internet Protocol address. A disc of that evidence was reviewed by PCSD investigators and led to a search warrant request, which was executed on Nov. 15, 2016, at Green’s home.

Green cooperated with the search, where agents and investigators from several agencies swept in and not only confiscated equipment, but also did an initial forensic exam of that equipment. He confirmed that he lived alone and that he had a secure wireless network. He did admit to having the same suspected P2P software, called “Shareaza,” as the aforementioned case but he denied having any child porn.

An initial forensic review of his home computer showed several files associated with possible child porn had apparently been deleted, using a sort of “shredding” software, meant to make them unreadable after deletion.

It was during that initial home search that Green expressed concern about how long it would take, as he needed to get to back the library, as he had to submit a budget by noon that day.

However, Frederic Police Chief Dale Johnson was also on the scene and said the village budgets weren’t due for another month, which led to questions about Green’s desire to get to the library, thought to be suspicious enough that another search warrant was sought and granted that morning, which led to an extensive search of the Frederic Library, where a variety of equipment was reviewed and had an initial forensic exam, as well.

That search of Green’s home and the library complex led to wide speculation by village residents, employees and even library board members, who had been pressed to separate from him, but were unable to take action against Green without any official criminal charges.

According to the complaint, in spite of Green’s home computer having been “scrubbed” with certain software, investigators from the Wisconsin Department of Justice were able to recover several deleted files and file paths allegedly associated with child pornography.

They also discovered evidence of several search terms associated with that child porn, apparently implying intent. Authorities also said they found similar evidence of searches and photos of preteen girls on two of Green’s cellular phones.

Once the evidence was confirmed by the DOJ, the PCSD submitted a total of 35 images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which uses a special form of facial recognition and other tools in their Child Recognition and Identification System which also cross-references to other confirmed child pornography cases and victims, cross-referencing with so-called initial hash comparison programming, which confirmed that nine of the Green files were suspected of being child pornography, as they have been confirmed as such in other cases.

All of the suspected images were discovered on Green’s home computer system or on his cell phones. No illegal porn images were found on the Frederic Library computer system.

In total, of the 35 suspected images submitted to the NCMEC for analyses, 15 of them in seven different photo series were found to be underage victims. Those suspected files had original file names of OrangeFace, Uncle M, Sweet Sugar, RCA, aprilblonde, Satin Dress and a file called Tara, which alone had seven images.

Each image led to separate charges, which were filed on July 28 against Green, who now faces a total of 15 felony charges of possession of child pornography.

If convicted, each charge carries a potential sentence of up 25 to years in state prison, and or up to $100,000 in fines, as well as another $500 for each image – meaning he faces a technically possible 375 years in prison and over $1.5 million in fines.

Green is scheduled to make an initial appearance before Judge Jeffery Anderson on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The issue of Green’s employment has been in limbo during the nine-month investigation and it was shortly after the charges were made public on Monday, July 31, that the Frederic Library Board of Trustees issued a statement, effectively terminating Green’s employment.

“ … Upon the filing of those charges, The Library Board has terminated Mr. Green’s employment as Library Director, effective immediately. Our wonderful staff will continue to serve our patrons, supported by the welcome efforts of our many  volunteers and community supporters.”

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