INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man was sentenced to decades in prison Wednesday for multiple sex crimes after he used a messaging app to solicit explicit material from a 14-year-old girl who was an undercover police officer.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, Erik Hanson pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child, conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation of a child and transportation of child pornography. Hanson was sentenced to 38 years in federal prison.
In April 2022, an investigator from the Westfield Police Department received a case file
from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a resident attempting sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl after communicating with her father on a messaging app.
According to court documents, the 14-year-old “child” and her “father” were undercover investigators.
Hanson sent a photo of his face that matched his social media posts and motor vehicle identification during the chat. In addition, Hanson sent a message asking about the “father’s” daughter, stating that she was his “favorite age.” He later sent explicit photos of himself next to printed images of female children to the “father.”
Hanson later mentioned that he produced sexual “tributes” for other dads who use the Kik messaging app. He was also given a phone number that he believed to be connected to the “girl.”
Hanson told the “girl” that he wanted to meet her in her hometown. The court document also revealed that Hanson requested photos from “her.”
Investigators traced the Kik account to Hanson through a search warrant and the IP address. On April 22, 2022, investigators served a search warrant at Hanson’s home. Police found at least 91 photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials during their search.
Court documents said that Hanson paid someone to produce child pornography and had a history of viewing explicit content involving children.