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Westminster man sentenced to 30 years for producing, possessing child pornography

Westminster man sentenced to 30 years for producing, possessing child pornography
Eric Wayne Grinder (Courtesy photo)

A federal judge has sentenced a Westminster man to 30 years behind bars for producing and possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake sentenced Eric Wayne Grinder, 36, of the 200 block of Montpelier Court, to 30 years in prison on Friday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

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Grinder was indicted four times by a federal grand jury, initially on three counts of production of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography on April 26, 2017, and then with additional counts on Aug. 9, 2017, Dec. 12, 2018, and Jan. 23. Grinder was ultimately convicted Feb. 25 by a jury in federal court on five counts of production of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of attempted production of child pornography and one count of witness tampering, according to federal court documents.

Additionally, Blake ordered that Grinder be supervised upon release for the rest of his life, and he will be required to register as a sex offender, according to the release.

A message left for Grinder’s attorney, Elizabeth Genevieve Oyer of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Baltimore, was not returned Friday afternoon.

Grinder was initially arrested by local law enforcement in March 2017 on charges of assault, sex abuse of a minor and drug distribution.

At the time, a 10-year-old girl told Maryland State Police that Grinder had been abusing her since she was 8, initially touching her genitals above and below her clothes, and later forcing vaginal penetration and forcing the girl to perform oral sex, according to state charging documents. The girl said she hadn’t told her mother about the abuse at first because Grinder had threatened to shoot her and her mother.

The girl’s mother also told police that she had seen Grinder hanging out in the hallway near the girl’s room and that at one point the mother had entered to find the girl was lethargic and then found a bottle of cough syrup in the girl’s dresser. The girl’s mother told police that the medicine in the bottle tasted like clonazolam, a sedative belonging to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, which also includes Valium and Xanax.

State charging documents noted that the girl tested positive for benzodiazepines and that investigators found child pornography images involving the girl on Grinder’s computer.

The news release on Grinder’s federal conviction and sentencing also noted evidence of witness tampering presented to the federal court, noting Grinder had written a letter to a family member in 2017 asking that person to “manipulate the victim into saying that she took the produced images of the abuse, not Grinder.” Grinder also repeatedly tried to contact the girl’s mother, according to the release.

Grinder is currently scheduled to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court on June 11 for a hearing on the still-pending state charges, one count of sex abuse of a minor with continuing course of conduct, one count of sex abuse of a minor, one count of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and two counts of possession of child pornography, according to electronic court records.

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