Gig Harbor man charged after 9,000 images of child porn found on computer

Staff writerOctober 4, 2013 

A Gig Harbor man believed to be the state’s leading downloader of child pornography said he’s struggled with the addiction for years and is grateful not to hide it anymore, according to court records.

Pierce County prosecutors today charged Elwood Anderson, 46, with four counts of first-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Prosecutors said more charges could be filed after they finish reviewing all evidence recovered from Anderson’s electronics.

He pleaded not guilty Friday at his arraignment. Bail was set at $250,000.

Anderson was arrested Thursday by the State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, which began investigating him in May after receiving a tip from Seattle authorities.

After detectives determined that Anderson had at least 570 child pornography images, they served a search warrant at his home July 11. Investigators seized two computers, an external hard drive, two cameras and CD cases. Although no child porn was immediately found, detectives eventually discovered a “virtual computer” on one of Anderson’s hard drives containing more than 9,000 pornographic images, many of which were of children being sexually abused. A virtual computer is software that allows users to view images without leaving a record.

About 238 videos of suspected child porn were also found on Anderson’s computer.

Lt. Ron Mead said the number of images likely makes Anderson the state’s leading downloader of child porn.

During an interview with detectives, Anderson allegedly admitted to a “long-standing” addiction to pornography, including child porn.

He downloaded the images on his work computer then deleted everything, a process he repeated over the years, charging papers state.

“He disclosed that he was remorseful for this behavior and even contacted the bishop of his church to seek guidance on how to handle it,” according to court records.

Anderson allegedly tried to quell his urges by placing the computer in the family room he shared with his wife and four daughters so he could not easily view porn. His family members told investigators they were unaware Anderson was browsing child porn.

“In a way I am glad I got caught… I’m glad it’s out there so I don’t have to hide it anymore,” Anderson allegedly told a neighbor.

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