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Former John Mellencamp keyboardist sentenced to 10 years for watching child porn on bus to Billings

Posted at 3:42 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 18:39:09-05

MISSOULA- The former keyboardist for John Mellencamp was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Friday for viewing child pornography on a bus on the way to Billings in 2017.

Eric Franklin Rosser, 67 of Ellensburg, Wash., pleaded guilty to the charges in October, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme. He was also fined $10,000, levied an additional $5,000 in special assessments, and he must forfeit his computer.

According to federal prosecutors, Rosser was on a bus on Interstate 90 east of Butte on July 22, 2017, when a fellow passenger noticed he was watching child porn on a laptop computer.

The passenger approached Rosser, who admitted he knew he had a problem, prosecutors said. Police greeted Rosser at the bus station in Billings, where he admitted to viewing child porn.

courtesy of FBI

Rosser has a history of online sex crimes. After touring with Mellencamp in the late 1970s, he was named to the FBI 10 most wanted list for his role in producing child pornography, and he fled to Thailand, The New York Post reported in 2001.

Rosser was the first fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for child pornography, according to the paper.

He was extradited back to the United States and spent time in a North Carolina federal prison, before he was released in 2017.

After he was arrested in Billings, Rosser had $10,000 strapped to each leg and another $50,000 in his bags. He told authorities he had emptied his bank account before leaving Washington state.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula presided over the case.