November 26, 2008

Earl Buchanan pleads guilty to child pornography

November 26, 2008

By Elliott Spagat, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- A man suspected of molesting children of his low-income tenants pleaded guilty to child molestation Wednesday, authorities said.

Earl Buchanan, 65, admitted in federal court that he produced a video of himself molesting a boy - believed to be 5 to 7 years old - in the bedroom of his home in Bloomington, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego said. He took the video to Arizona, Mexico and back to California.

Buchanan faces between 15 and 30 years in prison when he is sentenced March 2 for sexual exploitation of a child. He also agreed to forfeit his Bloomington house.

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of kidnapping a minor and transporting child pornography.

Buchanan faces charges of child molestation in San Bernardino Superior Court. That complaint alleged he committed lewd acts with six children as young as 7 years old between November 1998 and October 2006.

Buchanan was arrested in July 2006 while crossing the border in Calexico, 120 miles east of San Diego, with a 5-year-old boy who was not related. Prosecutors said authorities found lubricants, condoms, children's videos and hotel receipts in his van.

It was unclear if the boy in the van was the child shown in the video. Alessandra Serano, an assistant U.S. attorney, said Buchanan did not tell prosecutors.

"I think it was the same kid," Serano said.

At the time of his arrest, authorities said Buchanan rented homes to low-income tenants east of Los Angeles, won the parents' trust and showered the children with amusement park trips, dirt bikes, clothes and video games. They said a search of his home turned up a warehouse containing a bedroom and adjoining children's room stocked with video games and DVDs of children's movies. Several children's U.S. birth certificates were also found.

Buchanan's attorney, Robert Boyce, did not immediately respond to a phone message.

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