The former pianist for John Mellencamp and first child pornography suspect to make the FBI's Most Wanted list was sentenced to federal prison again, this time by a U.S. District Court judge in Missoula.
Eric Franklin Rosser, 66, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of federal supervision, for watching child porn on a public bus between Missoula and Billings in July 2017.
According to charging documents, Rosser admitted he was fleeing federal probation in Washington when a stranger noticed him watching the material on a laptop. Just days earlier he had drained his bank accounts, strapped $10,000 to each leg, threw another $50,000 in a bag along with $1,000 worth of marijuana, and headed east.
"But it wasn't just his escape from federal supervision that underscores the seriousness of the offense and the need to protect the public, it was the fact he immediately accessed the Dark Web in an attempt to view child pornography," Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno Baucus wrote in a Feb. 14 court filing.
Court records indicate law enforcement found notes in Rosser's belongings on how to access the "Dark Web," a sub-level of the internet where users are able to make transactions without leaving any trace of identification.
Rosser had previously been sentenced once to federal prison for more than 16 years after being arrested in Thailand. He was initially arrested after an investigation in the 1990s uncovered he had produced a video of him sexually assaulting a young girl, and exchanged it with an Indiana man for different pornographic material, the Associated Press reported in October.
Rosser, who was no longer playing keyboard for Mellencamp at that time, fled authorities after posting bail, sparking a worldwide manhunt that put him on the FBI's Most Wanted list, the first child pornography suspect to achieve such infamy, according to the AP report.
The sentence handed down in Missoula on Friday will run concurrently with a 24-month prison sentence recently imposed in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington spurred by his escape from federal probation there. He will be 76 when he's released from prison, and U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy ordered he be under federal supervision for the rest of his life.