Commonwealth Journal

Local News

September 5, 2013

Whitson asks for leniency in porn case

Somerset —

A Pulaski County man facing an upcoming sent-encing hearing for child porn charges has asked that the judge take into account his history of community service and a lack of prior criminal history before handing down a decision. 
Eric Whitson, 35, of Somerset, on Tuesday filed a memorandum through his attorney, R. Michael Murphy, of Lexington, asking that U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves hand down a sentence of no more than 180 months, or about 15 years, during this Friday’s scheduled hearing in U.S. District Court in London. 
“(Whitson) accepts responsibility for his actions and understands that he must be punished,” Murphy states in the memorandum. “At the same time, (Whitson) asks that the Court take the statements of the victim and his father into account when determining an appropriate sentence in this matter.”
Whitson in February pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He had initially also been charged with two counts of receiving child pornography, but the U.S.  moved to dismiss those charges as part of the plea deal. 
Whitson was arrested on Nov. 21, 2012 by Somerset Police Department detectives and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his home on Cooper Drive in Somerset after evidence of child pornography was found on items taken from Whitson’s home during a search. The arrest came after a two-week joint investigation conducted by SPD and the FBI, which began on Nov. 5 after SPD received a complaint from an alleged adult victim who stated he’d discovered a camera in Whitson’s bathroom.
The camera Whitson used to record the victim was concealed in a black box that sat on the toilet tank. 
The search warrant carried out by SPD on Nov. 5 revealed numerous images showing minors engaged in sexually explicit actions. The plea agreement states that more than 600 such images were found. 

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