PORTLAND, Oregon - Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced today that 57-year-old Niles Lehman received a two and a half year prison sentence for posting child pornography onto a social media account.
When these crimes were committed, Lehman was a Portland State University professor. He has since resigned.
Lehman pleaded no contest to two counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree. By doing so, Lehman stipulated that a judge or jury could find that he unlawfully and knowingly disseminated multiple visual recordings of sexually explicit conduct involving a child and that he knowingly and consciously disregarded the fact that the files involved child sexual abuse. The conduct occurred in Multnomah County between October 2017 and December 2017.
This investigation started when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received information through its CyberTipline program that a social media user was uploading child pornography. That information was provided to law enforcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined the social media account belonged to Lehman.
In August 2018, the Portland Police Bureau's Sex Crimes Unit took over the investigation and obtained a search warrant for Lehman's residence. While performing the court-authorized search, law enforcement located multiple electronic devices.
During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Lehman used a second social media application to send and receive child pornography with others.
A forensic evaluation of Lehman's cell phone revealed hundreds of child pornography of female victims between the ages of three and 12 being raped and sexually abused.
As part of his plea agreement, which was approved by a judge, Lehman will have to register as a sex offender. During Lehman's five years of probation, he will not be allowed to use the internet unless his probation officer approves and must agree to the search of any electronic device that has internet access.
Upon his release, Lehman will be on three years of post-prison supervision.
"The State believes this is an appropriate sentence that holds Niles Lehman accountable for his actions of viewing, sharing and uploading these horrible images of child pornography," said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney BJ Park, who prosecuted this case. "The harm done to a child who is sexually abused is enormous, both physically and emotionally. This office remains committed to protecting children from all forms of exploitation, identifying offenders, pursuing justice and stopping further abuse."
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office recognizes the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Portland Police Bureau for their dedicated efforts working this case.
The CyberTipline program is the nation's centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. The public and electronic service providers can make reports of suspected online enticement.
If you have information about a child being sexually abused and/or find child pornography online or on an electronic device, please contact law enforcement immediately. Tips can also be made around the clock by calling the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.