Attorney General's Special Commendation: Special Agent Tim Erickson, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation

In 2011, an Australian law enforcement agency contacted the North Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children task force regarding an Internet provider (IP) address originating in North Dakota that was discovered on the computer of an Australian couple who were suspected of sexually abusing their child. Specifically, Australian law enforcement discovered a one-page chat log that was linked to an IP address leased to the Minot, ND, public school system for use by Christopher Webb, the Internet technologies administrator for the school district.

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Tim Erickson and Department of Homeland Security investigators eventually seized electronic media that contained 40 to 60 webcam videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. Webb was charged in federal court with receipt and possession of child pornography. The investigation appeared to hit a wall because the videos identified only the webcam rather than the user name.

Determined to identify the men and children depicted in the videos, Special Agent Erickson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme approached Webb and requested his cooperation. With Webb's help, Erickson accessed Webb's many online accounts. Following a tremendous amount of forensic work, Special Agent Erickson obtained the user IDs of the individuals who sent the videos found on Webb's electronic media.

Through legal process, Special Agent Erickson identified the suspects who sent the videos to Webb depicting the sexual abuse of children. In the end, Webb was sentenced in federal court to 12 years in prison. To date, the leads that Special Agent Erickson generated have resulted in the arrest of six individuals in Washington, Kansas, Ohio, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Canada for various sexual abuse and production of child pornography charges. More importantly, the leads that Special Agent Erickson generated led to the rescue of seven children who were experiencing physical and sexual abuse.

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