Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Resident Receives Prison Sentence for Distribution of Child Pornography

Robert Eckert, the former executive director of the Lutz Children’s Museum, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison.

By Ronni Newton

A West Hartford man has been sentenced to 66 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to charges of distributing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut announced this week.

Robert Eckert, 56, who was formerly the executive director of the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester, was arrested on April 8, 2021 and pleaded guilty on Sept. 1, 2022, officials said in a news release. He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport.

He faced a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years.

Investigators seized Eckert’s cellphone on June 12, 2020, officials said, and following analysis discovered “1,837 image files and 73 videos depicting child sex abuse, including the abuse of prepubescent minors.”

Court documents, and statements made in court, indicated that between September 2019 and May 2020, Eckert solicited, reviewed, and distributed images of child sexual abuse and also communicated with others about the distribution of child pornography. He utilized platforms that include MeWe and Kik, officials said, which investigators found were accessed on his phone as well as at his residence and at the Lutz Children’s Museum.

Eckert has been free on $100,000 bond, and is due to report to prison on Feb. 15, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation of this case with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police and the Manchester Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy V. Gifford and Daniel Cummings were the prosecutors.

Officials stated that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Cases of child exploitation should be reported here: www.cybertipline.com.

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