Officials from the Lane County District Attorney's Office and the Oregon Department of Justice today announced the sentencing of Blake Christopher Hodgetts, age 38. Hodgetts pleaded guilty to eighteen counts, including fourteen counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse, one count of Unlawful Sexual Penetration, one count of first degree Sexual Abuse, and two counts of Using a Child in a Sexually Explicit Display. He was sentenced by Judge MaryAnn Bearden in Lane County Circuit Court to ten years in prison and required to enter the state's sex offender registration program. Hodgetts was sentenced under Measure 11 and is not eligible for parole.
On March 23, 2005, the Oregon Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force initiated a child pornography related investigation into the possession and possible dissemination of child pornography by Hodgetts. The investigation was based on a tip from a data recovery company in California to which Hodgetts had sent his computer hard drive. Upon discovering pornographic images of children on the hard drive, the company contacted a California ICAC affiliate, which then conveyed the information to Oregon ICAC investigators.
In the course of the child pornography investigation by Oregon ICAC, the Lane County Sheriff's Office, and the Lane County District Attorney's Office, law enforcement officials found evidence that Hodgetts had also sexually abused children. Hodgetts subsequently pleaded guilty to both offenses.
Hodgetts, who at the time was a senior programmer for Symantec/Norton Antivirus in Springfield, OR, was arrested on March 29, 2005 and charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography. He has remained in custody since the date of his arrest. Symantec cooperated with law enforcement, providing access to Hodgetts' office computer. Investigators found no evidence of child pornography on his office system.
The Lane County Sheriff's Office and the Lane County District Attorney's Office are both affiliates of Oregon ICAC, which includes over 75 federal, state and local partners. ICAC is housed at the Oregon Department of Justice and was created to protect Oregon's children through community education and the identification, apprehension and prosecution of those who commit Internet crimes against children.
Increasing use of the Internet has resulted in a dramatic proliferation of child pornography. In 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 3,267 tips related to possession and distribution of child pornography. By 2004, the number had exploded to 106,119. Law enforcement officials expect this exponential growth to continue. A 2005 study conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center found that 40% of arrested child pornography possessors were "dual offenders," who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography, with both crimes discovered in the same investigation. An additional 15% were dual offenders who attempted to sexually victimize children by soliciting undercover investigators who posed online as minors.
Individuals seeking to report possession or distribution of child pornography on the Internet should contact Oregon ICAC at (503) 378-6347 or their local sheriff's office or police department.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
Debra Vogt, Lane County District Attorney's Office, (541) 682-4261