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Former Wichita public schools IT worker pleads guilty to federal child porn charge

Wichita Eagle - 11/3/2023

Nov. 3—A Wichita man has pleaded guilty in federal court to downloading child pornography while he worked for the public school district.

Eric Caleb Carlson, 43, worked in the Wichita Public Schools' information technology division when he was caught "downloading and receiving videos and images" showing young children in sexual situations and being sexually abused by adults, according to court records and a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas.

"In June 2023, Synchronoss Technologies submitted two reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding files uploaded to its cloud-based backup service containing child sexual abuse/exploitation material," the release says.

"Law enforcement investigators linked the account to Eric Carlson based on evidence including a photograph of Carlson's driver's license, a selfie of Carlson, and photographs taken at Wichita Unified School District 259," the release says.

The school district is now his former employer.

Authorities arrested Carlson at a school district office and seized his phone, which contained "numerous" sexually explicit photos and videos of children in a password-protected private folder, according to the release.

"Carlson also had the Onion Router ("Tor") on his device, which is a free and open source software for enabling anonymous communications and access to the dark web," the release says.

Investigators combed through his browsing history and discovered "cached darknet webpages he had visited that offered access to child exploitation materials."

In addition, they found that Carlson had downloaded a zip file from the dark web that contained illegal imagery in July, the release says.

Carslon pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of receiving child pornography, court records show. He is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 22.

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