A Wisconsin man was indicted on Wednesday for the crimes of producing and possessing child pornography and engaging in illicit sexual conduct outside of the United States. Jeffrey H. Ernisse, 61, is currently incarcerated in Wisconsin charges related to child exploitation at the Red Granite Correctional Institution. Ernisse was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on two counts of producing child pornography, two counts of producing child pornography outside of the United States, one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in the Philippines, and one count of possessing child pornography.
On or about March 10, 2015 and then again, on or about April 7, 2015, according to court documents, Ernisse used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. Ernisse is also charged with illicit sexual conduct with a minor in the the Philippines. In addition, he is charged with possessing child pornography.
In 2016, Ernisse received a concurrent five-year sentence in a Sheboygan court after having been convicted in April of that year on child pornography charges. In the former case, he was charged with the repeated first degree sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl. He had been convicted of the repeated sexual assault of the same girl (at least three violations of first degree sexual assault) and child sexual exploitation. Two other charges —causing a child under 13 to view or listen to sex acts and exposing genitals to a child were dismissed.
According to the state's complaint against Ernisse, he was arrested after his 10-year-old victims notified investigators that Ernisse had sexually assaulted her. In an interview with police, he said that he asked the girl to send him pictures of her genitals while he sent photos of him urinating and other sexually explicit photos to her. Ernisse also confessed that he shared a pornographic movie on his tablet. Ernisse also claimed that he had repeated sexual contact with the girl, which he claimed was "at her request." He said he tried to stop, but was afraid to do so if she were to tell on him. In a written statement, Ernisse said he fell in love with the girl in a "romantic way" and admitted to kissing the girl and having sexual contact with her. He also admitted to having an "extensive" child pornography collection, including as many as 300 pictures and videos he had downloaded and searched for on his tablet. A forensic search of his tablet revealed 22 images of children between the ages of 3 and 10 involved in sexual exposure or contact with other individuals.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, this investigation is a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.