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Reno puts child-porn suspect on FBI list

Indiana man was placed on bail, then disappeared

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WASHINGTON — The FBI for the first time placed a child pornography suspect on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list Wednesday — an American musician charged with producing and distributing explicit photos and videos from Thailand.

Eric Franklin Rosser, 48, a keyboard player who ran a music school for children in Bangkok, is wanted for numerous offenses including the production of a videotape in Thailand that depicts him having sex with an 11-year-old girl, the bureau said.

Attorney General Janet Reno announced the new name on the list at a news conference with FBI officials. The FBI is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to Rosser's arrest.

"The FBI began to focus on Mr. Rosser after recovering vast amounts of child pornography from the residence of one of his associates in the United States," Reno said, describing the person only as a resident of Bloomington, Ind.

Rosser's whereabouts are unknown, Reno said. "We hope that will change."

Thai authorities arrested Rosser Feb. 9 on charges of lewd behavior and possession of pornographic materials after police raided his apartment and found hundreds of explicit photographs and videos of girls who appeared to be less than 15 years old.

Rosser disappeared after being released on bail and failing to show for a scheduled Thai court hearing on April 18.

He has been sighted in Western Europe during the past few months, said Andreas Stephens, FBI chief for violent crimes.

"This guy is almost a poster boy for a pedophile," Stephens said.

The FBI has been increasing its focus on crimes against children in the past few years, including those related to pornography on the Internet and international travel to abuse children, he said.

In March, Rosser was indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury in Indianapolis on six counts of producing and distributing child pornography. Rosser allegedly sent the material to someone in Bloomington, where he once lived.

Some of the smuggled photographs were placed on the Internet, Stephens said.

Rosser, who once played keyboard with rock star John Mellencamp, was a pianist at a luxury Bangkok hotel and ran a music school at his home. There, he gave music lessons to children from prominent families. Rosser has a wife and a 2-year-old son in Thailand.

In a letter published in one of Bangkok's English-language newspapers after his arrest, Rosser said he had a sexual obsession with young girls, but that he only acted on it on a few occasions, with child prostitutes.

Rosser faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of molestation in Thailand. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the six counts in the U.S. indictment.

Rosser, the 460th person placed on the FBI list, replaces Arthur Lee Washington Jr., who was on the list for 11 years. Washington is still wanted for the attempted murder of a New Jersey state trooper in 1989, but was taken off because the publicity from the list had done little in recent years to help capture him, Stephens said.

Since 1950, 431 of the most wanted fugitives have been captured. Tips from citizens are credited with 137 of the apprehensions.

Among those on the list are Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix, a leader of the Tijuana drug-trafficking cartel in Mexico and Osama bin Laden, who is charged with directing the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list

Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix, a leader of the Tijuana drug-trafficking cartel in Mexico.

Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi Arabian exile now in Afghanistan, charged with directing the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

James J. "Whitey" Bulger, a Boston organized crime leader. Bulger fled after then-FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. warned him he was about to be indicted, according to another federal indictment. Connolly had used Bulger as an informant.

Jesse James Caston, who was captured on Dec. 20 after being sought in the slayings of two men who were found shot to death on a Mississippi River levee on Dec. 18. He was also sought in the April 10 slayings of his wife, Angela, and a friend of hers.

Victor Manuel Gerena, wanted in connection with the 1983 armed robbery of $7 million from a West Hartford, Conn., security company.

Glen Stewart Godwin, a convicted murderer who escaped from a California prison in 1987 and a Mexican prison in 1991.

James Charles Kopp, charged with the 1998 killing of a doctor who performed legal abortions in Buffalo, N.Y.

Eric Franklin Rosser, charged with numerous child pornography offenses including the production of a videotape in Thailand which depicts him having sex with an 11-year-old girl.

Eric Robert Rudolph, charged with fatal bombings at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic in 1998.

Donald Eugene Webb, wanted in connection with the 1980 murder of a Saxonburg, Pa., police chief. He was added to the list May 4, 1981, and remains at large.


Web site: www.fbi.gov