In late March, a new Khmer440 poster with the username “sniper_m4” started a topic in our discussion forums about “Being Followed.” Sniper_m4 expressed concern that a tuk tuk driver recently told his wife that he was being followed by Actions pour les Enfants (“APLE”), a well known pedophile-hunting, child protection NGO.
Sniper_m4 was shocked and perplexed by this news that he was being followed by an NGO that combats child sex abuse. He explained that he had been living in Cambodia for five years, after spending three years in Thailand. He worked as a teacher and was married to an educated, middle class Cambodian woman. He had almost no contact with children and led a quiet and boring life in Cambodia, aside from regular visits to a few totally respectable Street 136 hostess bars.
Sniper_m4 wrote that “There is no reason for this investigation . . . . I have nothing to hide and I want this harassment to stop.” He asked the Khmer440 online community for guidance. That’s never a good idea.
Anti-NGO crackpots and paranoid meth-heads abound amongst some segments of Cambodia’s expatriate community. Not surprisingly, sniper_m4’s request for advice on how to avoid “entrapment” by APLE prompted a few genuinely unhelpful responses from Khmer440 keyboard warriors like myself. We briefly mocked him for being a paranoid weirdo, and we pointed out that tuk tuk drivers are never reliable sources of information about anything. Then our online discourse about sniper_m4’s predicament quickly tapered off, and we all went back to discussing local news events, debating Cambodian political developments, and making dick jokes.
2. The Reported Arrest of Eric Erdmann in Phnom Penh
About a month later, things got rather interesting. On April 22, the Khmer language website “Cambodia Express News” reported that Cambodian police, with the assistance of the FBI, had arrested 44 year-old American Eric David Erdmann in Phnom Penh on U.S. charges related to pedophilia. The article included photos of Erdmann, seated in a wheelchair, being pushed out of a building next to Tokyo Barber Shop on Street 278. Erdmann was accompanied by uniformed Cambodian law enforcement personnel and by a white guy in sunglasses who looks just like an FBI agent, assuming that FBI agents in Cambodia enjoy casual Fridays.
The article about Erdmann’s arrest quickly became a hot topic in the Khmer440 discussion forums. Some of us can’t resist gossiping about Westerners who are arrested in Cambodia, especially when there is a good photo of the arrestee’s “perp walk.” Or, in Erdmann’s case, a “perp roll.”
It did not take long before a keen Khmer440 poster found the Facebook page of an Eric Erdmann living in Cambodia, as well as online records of an Eric David Erdman fleeing probation in Multnomah County, Oregon in 2010 after conviction on five felony counts of “Second Degree Encouraging Child Sex Abuse.” That statute covers crimes involving child pornography.
3. Erdmann is un-arrested and lashes out online
Shortly after the article about Erdmann’s arrest hit the Khmer440 discussion forums, another unusual thing happened. “Sniper_m4” jumped into the discussion and declared that “I am Eric Erdmann and this article is a lie.” He demanded that the discussion of his arrest on U.S. sex charges be deleted from Khmer440 or he would sue for defamation, notwithstanding that the owners of Khmer440 can barely pay their own bar tabs.
Erdmann then offered his side of the “arrest” story. He said that he was briefly detained for visa overstay by Cambodian authorities because his passport and visa recently expired. He was then released with instructions to get a new passport and renew his visa.
Erdmann explained, “The FBI was not involved in this at all. Zero, zilch.” He said that a regular U.S. embassy staffer was there simply to look out for his interests. He said that his detention had nothing to do with U.S. sex charges and that this was a “complete falsehood” fabricated by a “hack reporter.” Erdmann also mentioned that he was photographed in a wheelchair because he had broken his leg in a recent accident.
In support of his claim of innocence, Erdmann pointed out that “There are many Eric Erdmanns in America.” He explained, “I am from Wisconsin. Not Oregon. Perhaps the media got their information crossed.”
Erdmann volunteered that he had a criminal record in Wisconsin and Illinois for drunk driving, driving without a license, as well as a record for theft of gasoline from a highway gas station in Illinois. However, he denied ever being charged with any sex crime or any crime in Oregon. He flatly stated that “I have never been to Oregon” and “I am not wanted on sex charges past present or future.”
On April 23, the Cambodia Daily picked up the story. They reported that Erdmann was allegedly wanted on sex charges in Oregon and had been arrested by Khmer immigration police after being caught without a passport. Erdmann told the Cambodia Daily that he had merely overstayed his visa and that allegations of child sex crimes in the U.S. were “a bunch of fucking lies.”
Erdmann’s claims of mistaken identity or mistaken reporting appeared to have some credibility. His Facebook page shows that he really is from Wisconsin, not Oregon. A different Eric Erdmann lives in Portland, Oregon.
Moreover, online records refer to the conviction of Eric David “Erdman” on child sex crimes in Oregon, not “Erdmann.”
Perhaps what was most convincing was that Erdmann was promptly released right after his detention or arrest or whatever it was. He wasn’t in custody, crazily shouting about his innocence through jail bars. He was back at home, posting frequently on Khmer440 and playing violent video games. That’s living the dream of any fortysomething year-old expat in Cambodia.
As proof of his freedom, Erdmann even uploaded a weird hostage-looking photo of himself eating breakfast at home on the same morning that the Cambodia Daily ran its article about his arrest on supposed pedophilia charges.
The FBI and local authorities don’t normally track down American fugitive sex offenders in Cambodia and then immediately release them. Something was off here. It seemed quite possible, even likely, that Erdmann was telling the truth that his brief immigration detention was unrelated to any U.S. sex crimes. Erdmann even related that U.S. embassy personnel had apologized to him and that the embassy was telling third parties that the news of his arrest on sex charges was untrue.
Meanwhile, over the next few days, both the Khmer Times and Cambodia Daily ran articles explaining that local police had simply permitted Erdmann to receive post-arrest treatment at Calmette Hospital for his broken leg, but that Erdmann was nonetheless scheduled to be deported soon due to pedophilia-related charges in the U.S. Erdmann denied these reports. He told the Khmer Times that “I’m not wanted for sex charges” and “I don’t even know where the hell this shit came from.” Erdmann maintained that he was in Wisconsin when the other “Erdman” was arrested on sex charges in Oregon.
Erdmann similarly told the Cambodia Daily, “It would be one thing to say I am arrested for passport and visa overstay . . . But to sit there and make these accusations that I’m some freakin’ pedophile wanted on freaking sex crimes, it’s ridiculous.” Erdmann claimed he was being “lied to by multiple fronts” and that he would be returning to the U.S. voluntarily because his visa and passport expired. He called the Cambodia Daily “an unprofesional media writing a story based off of no facts.”
Over on Khmer440, Erdmann’s denials began to sound rather fishy, and the tide of opinion turned against him as more online information was discovered suggesting that Erdmann a.k.a “sniper_m4” might be the Oregon child sex offender after all.
4. Erdmann’s deportation to Florida
Erdmann left Cambodia on April 27. The Cambodia Daily, quoting local law enforcement officials, reported that Erdmann had been blacklisted and deported and would be met by U.S. authorities in Qatar and then brought back to the U.S.
Two days later, Erdmann re-appeared on Khmer440, posting again as “sniper_m4.” He reiterated that he merely overstayed his visa in Cambodia, wasn’t a sex offender, and that he had traveled freely and voluntarily from Cambodia to Florida, where he was “free as a bird” and “NOT IN FUCKING JAIL.” In a great display of online showmanship, Erdmann even uploaded a photo of himself lying in bed at his parents’ house in Florida, holding a sign that read “F.U. Cambodia Daily.”
Erdmann declared that “Everything that has come out of the Daily has been false so far” and “I started commenting in this post to debunk the news article from Cambodia Daily and I have done that.”
Finally, Erdmann challenged Khmer440’s “fuck tards who want to believe the lies” to meet him face to face when he returns to Cambodia, suggesting that he intends to dispense some sweet ass-kicking justice to anyone who suggests to his face that he is the subject of those Oregon child sex charges. After all, Erdmann is from Wisconsin and has “never been to Oregon,” or so he says.
5. The Oregon child porn prosecution
OK, enough with the foreplay. Let’s get to the salacious stuff and figure out who is telling the truth — Eric Erdmann or the “hack reporters” in Cambodia.
We’ll start with records from Multnomah County, Oregon. According to a court filing, Eric David “Erdman” landed at Portland International Airport on September 3, 2007 on a flight from Bangkok via Tokyo. He told Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers that he had been living in Thailand with an older woman he met online. Which is totally crazy, because the whole point of traveling to Thailand for a girlfriend is to get a much younger, hotter one. I digress.
CBP officers found a computer tower in “Erdman’s” luggage. They thought this was odd; people usually just carry laptops around. When officers asked him about the contents of the computer tower, his face turned red. When they asked him for his parents’ address and phone number, he dropped his head onto the baggage belt. The officers told him they were going to seize his computer, and he freaked out and said that he had six months of “work” stored on it.
“Erdman” was free to go, but agents took his computer to their offices in downtown Portland where they searched it the next day. They found more than eighty images of sexually explicit conduct involving children, stored in a subdirectory of a first person shooter video game called “Far Cry.”
“Erdman” was questioned again by federal agents about a week later. He was visibly shaking during that interview and admitted using the “Far Cry” files but denied knowledge of the child pornography. After that interview, he hightailed it back to Thailand.
Almost a year and a half later, on February 2, 2009, an Eric David “Erdman” was indicted by a Multnomah County, Oregon grand jury on 18 separate counts of felony Encouraging Child Sex Abuse in the First Degree, Oregon’s child pornography statute. A warrant for his arrest was issued that day.
On Christmas Day 2009, “Erdman” re-entered the United States from Thailand at Chicago O’Hare Airport. He was promptly arrested at the airport, because he was wanted on the felony charges in Oregon. He also had a 17 year-old warrant for his arrest for theft from a highway gas station in Illinois. The Illinois court correctly spelled his name “Eric D. Erdmann.”
Erdmann agreed to be extradited to Oregon to face prosecution on the child pornography charges. First he was held in the Livingston County, Illinois jail on the theft charge until January 21, 2010. Then he was transported to Multnomah County, Oregon and booked into jail there the same day.
Oregon officials recommended that Erdmann be denied bail because he was a flight risk. He was held in the Multnomah County Jail for the entire duration of the proceedings against him. Erdmann’s trial was eventually set for July 13, 2010.
On the day of trial, Erdmann pled no contest to five lesser charges of felony Encouraging Child Sex Abuse in the Second Degree. A no contest plea means that he did not contest the charges, and he agreed to be convicted and sentenced, without admitting guilt. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Erdmann was sentenced to 120 days in jail (time already served) and three years’ supervised probation. Erdmann specifically agreed to the “sex offender package” — that he would be designated a sex offender and required to register as a sex offender for life.
Erdmann was released from jail that day, and he moved into a halfway house/shelter. He was subject to Oregon’s general terms of probation for three years, like no drugs, no weapons, and don’t leave the state without permission. He also agreed to other specific probation terms, like: (1) complete a sex offender treatment program, (2) register as a sex offender, (3) stay away from schools, parks, and children, (4) don’t look at ANY pornography, (5) meet with a probation officer every Tuesday, and (6) don’t go to any bars, strip clubs, or massage parlors.
To be honest, these probation terms sound like a real drag. Instead of strictly adhering to these terms, Erdmann did the next best thing. He fled to Cambodia — a country with a reputation as a haven for Western pedophiles — and began working as a teacher and frequenting bars in the capital’s red light district.
When Erdmann’s probation officer realized that he vanished, she informed the court that he had violated his probation. Multnomah County Judge Michael McShane issued a warrant for Erdmann’s arrest on December 13, 2010 for violating probation. There has been no subsequent activity in the case. The arrest warrant remains active as of the date of this article.
Erdmann is not listed on Oregon’s online Sex Offender registry. Perhaps sex offender registration in Oregon should not be done on the fucking honor system.
6. How do we know that Eric Erdmann, the guy arrested in Cambodia, is the same guy who fled probation after conviction on child sex crimes in Oregon?
– There is a strong resemblance between photos in Erdmann/sniper_m4’s photobucket account and the online mugshot of the “Eric Erdman” convicted in Multnomah County, Oregon. Erdmann denies he’s the guy, but he sure looks like the same guy here:
– Erdmann’s primary argument of mistaken identity on the Oregon sex charges is, “I’m not from Oregon. I’m from Wisconsin.” The Oregon court records show that the guy caught in Oregon with child pornography was actually from Wisconsin and was just passing through Portland’s airport when he got caught.
– Erdmann posted on Khmer440 as “sniper_m4” that he lived in Thailand for three years before spending the last five years in Cambodia. The guy caught with child pornography in Oregon was returning to the U.S. from Thailand in 2007. He was then arrested at Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2009 after returning from Thailand again.
– Erdmann’s Facebook account, photobucket account, and “sniper_m4” posts on Khmer440 show that he is an aficionado of first person shooter video games. The nervous, red-faced dude caught with child pornography at Portland airport stored that pornography in “Far Cry” gaming files.
– Though Erdmann claims he has never been to Oregon, a user named “sniper_m4” posted on a video game discussion website called “cryengine.com” from 2008 through 2010. His profile lists his location as “Oregon, U.S.A.” He suggested that any lawyers who tried to take his PC would be “shot at.”
– The guy convicted on sex charges in Oregon was born on June 19, 1972. Erdmann volunteered on Khmer440 that he has a criminal record in Wisconsin and Illinois for drunk driving, driving without a license, and theft. Erdmann’s Facebook account says he is from Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Court records show that a local man named Eric D. Erdmann was arrested there numerous times, including for drunk driving and driving without a license. Illinois records show that an Eric D. Erdmann from Wisconsin was arrested there for misdemeanor theft in 1992. All of these records list Erdmann’s date of birth as June 19, 1972, the same date of the birth as the man convicted in Oregon.
– Wisconsin records show that the “Eric D. Erdmann” caught driving without a license there had a street address of 1940 Division St., East Troy, Wisconsin, 53120. Oregon records show that the “Eric David Erdman” caught with child porn there had a street address of 1940 Division St., East Troy, Wisconsin, 53120.
– Although the Oregon child sex charges were filed against an “Eric David Erdman,” this was just a misspelling of the last name “Erdmann.” The defendant in the Oregon case actually filled out several documents by hand where he corrected the misspelling by printing and then signing his own name “Erdmann.” Here is his signature on the 2010 Oregon plea agreement:
This looks an awful lot like “Eric D. Erdmann’s” signature on his 1998 guilty plea for drunk driving in Waukesha County, Wisconsin:
All of these documents rather conclusively show that the Eric David Erdmann a.k.a. “sniper_m4” who was recently deported from Cambodia is the very same fugitive “Eric David Erdman” who was convicted of child pornography charges in Oregon in 2010 and fled his probation after serving jail time there. Erdmann’s repeated claims on Khmer440 and to the press in Cambodia that he has “never been to Oregon” and is “not wanted on sex charges past present or future” were spectacularly untrue.
7. The Money Shot
Erdmann has a lot invested in his lies and his denials of the Oregon child sex offense charges. He told his wife and her family that the news reports were false, such that they might “go after” the journalist who wrote the article.
Erdmann might still try to claim that although he is a 43 year-old thieving, drunk driving, gasoline stealing, violent video game-loving guy named Eric David Erdmann from Wisconsin who once lived in Thailand, he’s NOT the same 43 year-old thieving, drunk driving, gasoline stealing, Thailand-living, violent video game-loving Eric David Erdmann from Wisconsin who got caught with child pornography while passing through Oregon. “Same Same But Different Guy,” Erdmann might say.
If you are a gullible, tinfoil hat wearing nutcase who might be inclined to believe Erdmann, please consider the following final nugget of evidence. The “Eric David Erdman(n)” convicted on child sex charges in Oregon listed his father as a character reference in his bail application. He said his father’s phone number was (941) 637-xxxx. A quick google search shows that this phone number is a “landline” registered to a house located at 1601 Islamorada Blvd. in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Erdmann/Sniper_m4 told us on Khmer440 that his parents live in Florida. In fact, to prove that he was not wanted and was “free as a bird” in America, Erdmann uploaded that photo of himself lying in bed in his parents’ Florida home, holding a sign reading “F.U. Cambodia Daily.”
“If I am a fugative that escaped to Cambodia running from child sex charges (according to the Cambodia Daily). Why am I laying in my parents bed and NOT IN FUCKING JAIL?I told you asshats I wasnt wanted. But noooo lets all listen to the dumb fuck daily news. I will be returning to Cambodia soon enough and that asshole reporter who wrote that hit piece better tread lightly. . . . Child sex charges lmao!”
LMAO, indeed. The “location services” on Erdmann’s phone were turned on when he took that photo. If you upload the photo to a simple web service like this one, the geo-tagging data on the photo reveals that it was taken at 1601 Islamorada Blvd. in Punta Gorda, Florida.
That’s right, in an effort to prove to Cambodia Daily assholes and Khmer440 “fuck tards” that he is not the same “Eric David Erdman(n)” who fled probation after a child sex conviction in Oregon, Erdmann uploaded a selfie lying in bed in the exact Florida house where the Oregon defendant told the court that his father could be contacted.