Monday, March 26, 2001

Child porn manhunt began in Indiana

Bloomington girls in photos, video

The Associated Press

        BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A raid on a motel room three years ago gave police a glimpse into local pedophilia circles and started them on a trail that led halfway across the globe to Eric Franklin Rosser.

        Their work led to the indictment a year ago of the musician and former Bloomington resident on child pornography charges, and, in December, his placement on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

        Mr. Rosser disappeared in Thailand last April and has eluded capture since, although the FBI has received reported sightings of him in Europe.

        The trail to Mr. Rosser began in May 1998 in Monroe County, investigators told the Herald-Times of Bloomington for a report published Sunday.

        A woman who found a picture of her husband in a sexually compromising pose with a little girl turned the photo over to Monroe County sheriff's deputies. They raided a Bloomington motel room, where they found the man, David L. Danser, and a 7-year-old girl, both naked.

        Mr. Danser, owner of a video rental store in Bloomington, had an extensive collection of child pornography that eventually pointed to Mr. Rosser, police say.

        Mr. Danser's arrest led the sheriff's department to execute several search warrants that yielded child porn, “including pictures, negatives and videotapes,” said FBI Special Agent Tony Siedl, a lead investigator.

        Some of the pictures, showing Mr. Danser with a 7-year-old girl, had been taken in North Carolina, Agent Siedl said. Mr. Danser was charged with traveling across state lines with intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 30 years and 10 months in federal prison in December 1999.

        In Mr. Danser's collection, investigators found a videotape of a 12-year-old girl having sex, said Detective Brad Swain of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

        That led to further arrests and seizures of child pornography, including a videotape depicting Mr. Rosser, a pianist who had played in rock star John Mellencamp's band in the 1970s, having sex with an underage girl.

        Mr. Rosser apparently was traveling between Bangkok and the United States, smuggling child pornography, Agent Siedl said.

        Federal investigators tipped off their Thai counterparts, who raided Mr. Rosser's home in Bangkok and found a huge collection of pornography, most of it featuring children.

        Some of the photos seized in Bangkok have turned up on the Internet, Agent Siedl said. The same pictures, some of which depict Bloomington residents, have turned up in other investigations across the country, he said.

        “I've been notified by Interpol that someone in London was arrested with pictures of a Bloomington victim,” Agent Siedl said.

        Mr. Rosser remains a fugitive from charges in the United States and Thailand. The FBI has received reports of Mr. Rosser's appearance in France, Monaco and Italy, the Times reported.

        A tourist, prompted by a segment on TV's America's Most Wanted, turned in a holiday video he had shot in Europe of a man police think is Mr. Rosser. The man is with a bicycle, with a keyboard on the back.


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