Neighbors never suspected man accused of child porn

11:19 PM, Mar 6, 2012   |    comments
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Eric Straatsma

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Detectives say they found hundreds of pictures and video of young children in sexual situations on Eric Straatsma's computers.

But Algoma Township neighbors of Straatsma, 34, say they never suspected he had an illegal interest in children -- not until federal agents showed up to arrest him.

"I've been here 20 years and I've never met the guy," says Gabe Sanderson. "I know all the other neighbors, but he kind of keeps to himself."

Straatsma is accused of possession and receipt and distribution of child pornography.

During a search of his home on 11 Mile Road NE in Comstock Park, the FBI says they confiscated computers, laptops, hard drives, flash drives and digital cameras.

They say a preliminary search of just one hard drive turned up over 1,000 images of child pornography.

Straatsma is in federal custody, and if the charges are true neighbors say they hope detectives are correct, and he never comes home.

"They said I would probably never see him again," recalls Sanderson. "If these accusations are true, I hope he goes away and never comes back."

The FBI says Straatsma admitted his sexual desire for children, confessed to possessing and distributing child pornography and told agents he was also guilty of molesting a little girl.

"Kind of concerning," says Sanderson, holding his young son in his arms. "I've had a few neighbors stop by to warn us and they have kids, too. They have been pretty concerned to have him so close by."

During their search of his home detectives say they also found over 100 pairs of little girl's underwear.

The FBI does not say how Straatsma came to their attention, but the agent leading the investigation is a computer crimes specialist.

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