by Gina DeVitis
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has added a new name to its Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list in the hopes of bringing a man accused of possessing and producing child pornography to justice. Eric Toth, a 30-year-old elementary school teacher, camp counselor, and nanny, has been on the run since 2008, when pornographic images were discovered on a school camera that had last been in his possession.
He fills one of two empty spots on the infamous list due to the death of Osama Bin Laden and the arrest of Whitey Bulger last year.
Toth has been indicted on a charge of producing child pornography in the District of Maryland and charged via criminal complaint for possessing child pornography in the District of Columbia, both of which are considered federal crimes. It is alleged that there has been more than one victim of prepubescent age and that there are both still and video images involved in the evidence against him.
Child pornography falls under the cyber-crimes squad of the FBI and is handled by a child exploitation task force. Cyber-crimes include any criminal violation using a computer, and in the case of child pornography includes the use of the internet for easier access and easier sharing of the illegal material.
“The biggest concern is that he’s working with students somewhere,” says FBI spokesperson Jacqueline Maguire, “Guys like this, with the allegations against him, there’s no on-off switch that he’s just going to stop having the desires he does with children.”
Toth was last seen in Arizona in 2009, but is also believed to have traveled through Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, where he allegedly left a suicide in his abandoned Honda at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport to mislead FBI agents.
He has extensive credentials for working with children, with a degree in education from Purdue University and experience as a 3rd grade teacher at a private elementary school in DC. Prior to that, he worked as a counselor at an all-boys summer camp in northern Wisconsin.
Toth is known to use online advertising for his tutoring and nanny services. He is considered dangerous and is adept at social engineering and earning parents’ trust. If caught, he faces a minimum of fifteen years in prison, depending on if more victims come forward.
“The criteria to become a member of our Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list is pretty much twofold,” Maguire says, “One, the individual is known to be a danger to the public. Second, the FBI feels that the added publicity would be beneficial to the case.”
For more information or to report a tip, visit http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/eric-justin-toth.