• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers: Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA - Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 21s

Shock and surprise follow child porn arrest

By Bonney Bowman 7:16 PM April 17, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Former students expressed shock and surprise when one of their professors was arrested this week for having and distributing child pornography.

Dr. Curtis Osterhoudt taught physics and astronomy at the University of Alaska Anchorage before resigning in January.

Students and colleagues described him at very intelligent and engaged with his subject matter.

Since his resignation, Osterhoudt’s office and lab have been packed up, but those still on campus are struggling to come to terms with the man they knew and the charges he now faces.

“It was quite a shock and it’s kind of hard to figure out how to process it,” said former student Talia Sopp.

She says she’s trying not to form any judgment about Osterhoudt until all the facts in his case come out.

“He was one of the best professors I’ve ever had,” Sopp said. “He’s super dedicated to his students and really was just an inspiration to me.”

The charging documents paint a very different picture of the former professor.

The images he’s charged with trafficking indicate the victims are as young as seven and eight years old.

“It usually does surprise the peer groups and the communities that these suspects live in, that these people would have been trafficking in it,” said Lt. Rex Leath, deputy commander of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

Investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force actively hunt traffickers.

That’s what led them to Osterhoudt on Dec. 19, 2013.

“We went to a location on the UAA campus in support with the University of Alaska Anchorage police and the Anchorage Police Department and we were able to identify someone there and computers that were being used to traffic in child pornography,” Leath said.

In the months since, investigators have been building the case against Osterhoudt, examining his home and office computers for child porn.

He now faces 14 felony charges for possession and distribution.

Unfortunately, prosecutors say, these kinds of crimes are increasing as internet access grows.

“You can look at one case as a victory or not a victory and again I’m not speaking to Mr. Osterhoudt’s case, but another way of looking at is as just a drop in the bucket because we are seeing a significant number of these types of offenses,” said Adam Alexander, assistant attorney general in the Office of Special Prosecutions.

“To the victim that’s being victimized, it’s not a drop in the bucket. It’s a life-changing event,” Leath said. “So every case that we can successfully prosecute and hold someone accountable for victimizing a child, we change someone’s life.”

Investigators say their work doesn’t end with an arrest. They also try to identify the children in the pornography to make sure they’re no longer being victimized.

Osterhoudt is being held at the Anchorage jail on $100,000 bail. His next court date is scheduled for June 3.

 

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Plow crews reopen Elliott Highway, work to open Steese

    by Associated Press on Feb 27, 10:28

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Heavy snowfall and strong winds closed two northern Alaska highways over the weekend. Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says crews have reopened the Elliott Highway after a closure Sunday and are working to reopen the Steese Highway. She says truckers heading for North Slope oil fields face hazardous conditions […]

  • News

    Wasilla man killed in snowmachine wreck in Talkeetna

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 9:30

    A 19-year-old was killed in a snowmachine wreck in Talkeetna Sunday. At 3:20 p.m., Alaska State Troopers were notified of a “possible fatality in the area of the Talkeetna Mountains, near Yoder Road, in Talkeetna,” the agency said. Jacob Harris, of Wasilla, was found underneath his idling snowmachine near a steep embankment. He was unresponsive. Other […]

  • News

    AST: 1 killed in Butte house fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 9:20

    A woman was killed and a man was injured in a house fire on South Knik River Road Sunday, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers and the Mat-Su Fire Department were called to the home at 12:54 p.m. for a report of a residence fully engulfed in flames, with one woman still inside, AST said. “Investigation revealed […]

  • Lifestyle

    Chugiak first responder thankful for community support after snowboarding accident

    by Daniella Rivera on Feb 27, 7:30

    A Chugiak first responder who’s used to rescuing other people found himself on the other side of an accident last week. Peter Casey works as a flight paramedic for LifeMed Alaska and helps out with Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue. In his free time, the lifelong Alaskan enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family. But […]

  • Poll: US teens disillusioned, divided by politics

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 6:17

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A survey of children ages 13 to 17 finds that America’s teens are almost as politically disillusioned and pessimistic about the nation’s divisions as their parents. But they aren’t quite as quick to write off the future as adults. The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds […]

  • News

    Hostetler Park renovation project includes new plan for Alaska Victims Memorial

    by Eric Ruble on Feb 26, 18:45

    A small park in the northwest corner of downtown Anchorage will soon have a new look. Hostetler Park is located where Third Avenue becomes L Street. Since 1994, the eastern portion of the park has been occupied by the Alaska Victims Memorial. It includes the names of more than 350 Alaskans who died because of […]

  • Weather

    Alaska Weather Forecast – Feb. 26, 2017

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 26, 18:38

    Meteorologist Melissa Frey says most of the state will see some amount of snow, but Southeast will stay dry through Monday. Follow KTVA 11’s Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Got a weather-related photo or story idea? Email the team at weather@ktva.com.

  • News

    Officials readying for Eielson F-35s to spur housing crunch

    by Associated Press on Feb 26, 18:18

    Officials are preparing for a possible housing crunch in 2020 that is expected to coincide with an influx of servicemen tied to the two new F-35 squadrons coming to Eielson Air Force Base. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports one part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough is estimated to need 800 units of housing by […]