Tyler Gene Liddle (mugshot)

Tyler Gene Liddle

BLACKFOOT — A local man was sentenced Monday to a unified 20-year prison term for possessing and distributing child pornography.

Tyler Gene Liddle, 33, of Blackfoot, received the sentence during a Monday court hearing at the Bingham County Courthouse, which Liddle attended in-person with his Pocatello attorney Shawn Anderson after audio issues prevented the hearing from being held remotely via video conference.

Judge Darren B. Simpson imposed the sentence after Liddle pleaded guilty in November to one count of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing or accessing child porn, both felonies, as part of a plea bargain with the Bingham County Prosecutor’s Office.

Liddle was originally charged with one count of distributing child porn and four counts of possessing or accessing child porn stemming from an Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children and U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation, according to a July 2020 Idaho Office of the Attorney General news release.

In exchange for his guilty pleas, Bingham County Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Cousin agreed to dismiss the three additional counts of possessing or accessing child pornography and recommended Simpson impose sentences that run concurrently, or at the same time.

In regards to the charge of distributing child porn, Simpson on Monday sentenced Liddle to serve a unified sentence of 20 years in prison, of which Liddle must serve six of those years incarcerated before being eligible for parole. Simpson also imposed a unified sentence of 10 years in prison for the possessing or accessing child porn charge Liddle faced, ordering the prison time to run concurrently, or at the same time, as the unified 20-year prison sentence.

“You are 33 years of age, the charges you have committed are serious … you were found in excess of 3,000 child pornography images as well as several video files containing child pornography,” Simpson said to Liddle when handing down the sentence. “That’s a lot of pornography.… Your actions were occurring enough that you ended up on an Attorney General’s investigation because of the images that were being sent. This is your second and third felony convictions. I think you can get the treatment you need (in prison) and I can better serve justice and protect society by imposing this sentence and that will be the judgement of this court.”

Liddle addressed the court before receiving the sentence, apologizing to the state of Idaho for distributing child porn and to the many children who are revictimized every time a pornographic image of them is shared or accessed. Liddle also asked the judge to sentence him to probation so he could receive treatment or to retain jurisdiction on any imposed prison sentence. Also known as a “rider,” a prison sentence with retained jurisdiction would have allowed Liddle an opportunity to receive sexual abuse treatment while incarcerated for a period of up to one year. If an offender successfully completes the “rider” program, they are then released on probation for the remainder of the imposed prison term.

Simpson said that any sentence less than a lengthy prison term would have diminished the serious nature of the charges against Liddle. The pre-sentencing psychosexual evaluation of Liddle determined he was a high-risk to reoffend.

In addition to the Idaho Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Blackfoot Police Department was involved in the investigation that led to Liddle’s July 2020 arrest. The investigation followed a December 2019 complaint from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC.

Blackfoot police detectives in December 2019 received a cyber tip and complaint regarding content flagged as child pornography from NCMEC that had been distributed using the social media application Snapchat, police said. Facebook had previously flagged the same content and also reported it to NCMEC, police said.

Blackfoot police on Dec. 6, 2019, investigated the complaint and determined the content contained an image of a mostly nude girl between the approximate ages of 11 and 15, police said.

On April 15, 2020, Blackfoot police detectives received another complaint from NCMEC reported by Instagram that contained an image of a nude girl between the approximate ages of 11 and 14, police said.

The investigation revealed the reported images were transmitted via internet services belonging to Liddle at an address on the 2800 block of Hunters Loop in Blackfoot, according to police reports.

Officers with the Blackfoot Police Department, Idaho Falls Police Department, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, District 7 Probation and Parole Office and Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant at Liddle’s home on July 21, 2020.

During the search of Liddle’s home, police recovered approximately 3,000 images of child pornography, police said.

Liddle was subsequently arrested and transported to the Bingham County Jail in Blackfoot.

As an employee of Idaho State University, Liddle was accused of embezzling over $100,000 from the school in 2017. Liddle in November 2017 was ordered to serve 14 years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of misusing public funds, a felony, in July of 2017 for that crime.

While a financial technician at ISU, Liddle embezzled over $116,000 from the school by creating more than 400 fraudulent cash reimbursement invoices, the Idaho State Journal reported in 2017.

Judge Robert Naftz suspended a 14-year prison sentence against Liddle and instead placed him on felony probation for 14 years, which required Liddle to pay over $116,000 in restitution and serve 150 hours of community service.

Naftz had denied Liddle’s request for withheld judgement and opted for probation over prison time because a pre-sentencing investigation revealed Liddle was at low-risk to commit future crimes and that this was his first felony offense, Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog told the Journal in 2017.