A Westbrook man was arrested and charged with distribution of child pornography Tuesday after police said he pretended to be the mother of a young girl when he emailed a sexually explicit image of the girl to an undercover federal agent last month.

Michael Van Eekhout, 50, was freed on $25,000 unsecured bond after being brought before Judge Jon Levy in U.S. District Court in Portland and charged with two counts of transportation of child pornography, a felony.

Van Eekhout used the identity of a woman with whom he had once worked in New Hampshire to create an email account from which he sent images of the woman’s daughter, both clothed and nude, according to an affidavit filed with the court by David Fife, a federal agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

Van Eekhout claimed to be the woman as he developed email correspondents he found using the classified website Craigslist, Fife said in the affidavit unsealed Tuesday after Van Eekhout’s arrest.

“In these emails, it appeared that Van Eekhout was posing as a mother with a 10- or 11-year-old daughter, and many featured clothed or nude images of (the woman) and/or clothed images of (the woman’s) actual daughter,” Fife wrote in the affidavit.

Van Eekhout is accused of emailing Fife a pornographic image of the child on July 15, leading federal agents and Westbrook police to obtain a search warrant and execute it at Eekhout’s home at 272 Cumberland St. on July 18.

Van Eekhout initially denied involvement in child pornography, but later admitted sending the images in the woman’s name, and authorities were able to access his online accounts to verify that he had sent the emails, Fife wrote.

If convicted, Van Eekhout faces between five and 20 years in federal prison on each count and a fine of as much as $500,000.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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