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Decorated Army vet Alan Eslinger gets 16 years for second child-porn bust

Alan Douglas Eslinger was caught with 12,000 images and 900 videos of child pornography.

Alan Douglas Eslinger was caught with 12,000 images and 900 videos of child pornography.

According to at least one of his superior officers, Alan Douglas Eslinger was the type of medic you want in your regiment while deployed in a combat zone. The 44-year-old logged at least three combat tours in Iraq and received a Bronze Star for his valor.

But Eslinger was a hero with a disturbing secret.

The Grand Forks, North Dakota-area man’s military career began unraveling in 2001 when he was court-martialed for possessing child pornography, according to the state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. Court records show he was found with more than 1,700 images on his computer, some depicting infants being penetrated. In 2007, Eslinger was dishonorably discharged, bringing a disgraceful end to his 18-year career as a Special Forces medic.

“He is my best medic,” Capt. Timothy J. Coffman stated during Eslinger’s sentencing hearing. “I think we should rehabilitate him. … I mean, he’s a great soldier. He has a great service record as far as military activities.”

Ultimately, Eslinger was sentenced to three years in prison after an appellate court upheld the court-martial ruling in 2011.

By 2014, the former Green Beret was back on the street with the same unsettling taste in downloads. That fall he was again busted with child pornography after the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations discovered a computer in the state was sharing child porn over a peer-to-peer network. With help from Homeland Security investigators based in the Twin Cities, the IP address was traced to an industrial park in Grand Forks. It was coming from a garage Eslinger rented and frequented at odd hours, the building owner told investigators.

In September 2014, authorities raided Eslinger’s garage, uncovering two laptops and other devices stocked with thousands of files of child pornography. Eslinger had upward of 12,000 images and 900 videos of prepubescent kids engaged in sex acts with adults.

When asked if the laptops contained child porn, Eslinger replied, “If it’s on my computer, I suppose so.”

Eslinger eventually reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, copping to multiple counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. On Monday, Eslinger was sentenced to 16 years in prison, plus a lifetime of supervised release.