U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer’s office announced today the indictment of Christian Trey Ashcraft, 40, owner of Ashven photography and a former photographer of high school students around Pine Bluff, on a charge of Internet stalking and another of lying to a federal agent.

The case arose in 2014 when a minor told Maumelle police that Seth Ganahl had asked her to engage in illicit sexual activity. Ganahl’s email account was searched and he subsequently was indicted. During that investigation, authorities said they found that he was also emailing with someone purporting to be a 15-year-old female who used the email fun_e-gurl_2000. Agents developed information that led them to believe that account user was actually Ashcraft.  He denied that, but the news release said further investigation indicated that he had used the account to send sexually explicit photographs of an adult female — while posing as this female — to at least two people over a significant period of time. Finally, on April 1, Ashcraft reported admitted it was his email account.

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“The internet continues to be the weapon of choice for many individuals because they believe it provides them anonymity,” Thyer said. “This case demonstrates that law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office will track down individuals who abuse the internet for their own deviant purposes, and that these people will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

UPDATE: The Pine Bluff Commercial reports that Ashcraft is a six-term former county Democratic Party chair, member of the Election Commission and served by appointment for a time to fill a vacancy in the county clerk’s office. He ran unsuccessfully for the office and for circuit clerk. 

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