Federal prosecutors in Kansas City have charged a convicted sex offender with distributing child pornography from a California prison.
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
Eric Lee Bederson made his initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, where he faces six counts of distribution of child pornography.
Bederson, 35, has been in prison since June 2000, according to California Department of Corrections records.
The federal charges allege that on six occasions in fall 2011, Bederson disseminated by computer to western Missouri still photos or video images of child pornography.
Court documents do not reveal how Bederson allegedly accessed a computer from prison. Specifics of the case were not discussed during Tuesday’s first court appearance.
A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections said the department could not comment.
California inmates are not given Internet access, but some have used smuggled cellphones to access the Web, officials said.
To prevent that, the department has begun installing electronic systems to block cellphone signals at its institutions.
Federal prosecutors in Kansas City said they could not recall any previous cases alleging child pornography being sent from a prison.
Bederson was working at a California day care center in 1999 when he was charged with multiple counts of child molestation. The Mendocino County district attorney’s office said Bederson was sentenced in 2000 to 16 years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Daly said that because of the child sex convictions, Bederson faces an enhanced sentence of 15 to 40 years in prison on each of the pornography distribution charges, if convicted.
Magistrate Judge John Maughmer granted Bederson’s request for a court-appointed lawyer and scheduled his arraignment for March 26.
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