Two East Idaho men have been arrested and charged with numerous felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child stemming from two separate and unrelated Idaho Crimes Against Children Task Force investigations, according to court records.
Jordan Reed Blatter, 30, of Idaho Falls was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of possessing or accessing sexually exploitive materials of a child in Bonneville County and Joseph David Hornof, 38, of Blackfoot was arrested Tuesday and charged with eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child in Bingham County.
The investigation into Blatter was launched in January after Facebook flagged six videos depicting a nude teenage boy and 10 images containing child sexual abuse material of boys between the ages of 5 and 13 and reported them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, court records say.
The Facebook account that uploaded the child sexual abuse materials was associated with a Hotmail email account that investigators linked to Blatter, court records say. The images were uploaded in January and July of 2020. Investigators also verified the phone number associated with the Facebook account belonged to Blatter.
Investigators sought and obtained search warrants for Blatter’s email and Facebook account, of which the latter returned a file approximately 2,500 pages long. Included in the 2,500 page print-out of the Facebook data were the images and videos included in the cyber tip and additional nude photos of a boy approximately 14-years-old, court records say.
Blatter was detained on Tuesday and transported to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office where he admitted to possessing images and videos of underage children and sharing naked images of himself with underage teenagers, police said.
Blatter was subsequently charged with the five counts of possessing or accessing sexually exploitative materials of a child, arrested and booked into the Bonneville County Jail where he currently remains incarcerated with a $50,000 bond.
The incident involving Hornof also stemmed from a cyber tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from a WeMe social media account, which according to its website is a “revolutionary social network” that “emphasizes social sharing where people can be their true, authentic selves.”
WeMe included 22 files of apparent child sexual abuse material that were uploaded this past February. The files include photos, videos and GIFs depicting sexual abuse material of children between the approximate ages of 2 and 10, court records say. WeMe indicated in its cyber tip that the account that shared the child sexual abuse material belonged to a Joseph Hornoff who registered the account with an Idaho phone number.
In March, a North Carolina detective contacted the Bingham County detective investigating this incident and informed him that he, too, had an ongoing investigation into Hornof, who was also a registered sex offender in Idaho. Hornof was previously convicted of sexually abusing a child under the age of 16 in 2009 in Bannock County, according to Idaho State Police records.
The North Carolina detective indicated his investigation centered around a Kik Messenger account belonging to Hornof which he used to communicate with the North Carolina detective acting undercover on Kik Messenger, an online application that allows users to communicate with other users one-on-one or in groups.
During the conversation, Hornof made several blatant comments about forcing underage girls to have sex with him, court records say. Hornof referred to the underage girls as “pizza” and referred to their age by stating how many years the cheese on the pizza had aged, police said.
Detectives in Blackfoot served a search warrant at Hornof’s home on Tuesday. Hornof was detained and interviewed, during which he admitted to using Kik Messenger to send and receive child sexual abuse material and that he created a group named “pedophile” on WeMe to send and receive child sexual abuse material.
Hornof was subsequently charged with eight felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child and booked into the Bingham County Jail where he currently remains incarcerated with a $1 million bond.
Blatter is due back in court on May 19 for a preliminary hearing, which involves prosecutors presenting evidence that would result in his case being moved from the magistrate to district court level in preparation that the case goes to trial.
Hornof is due back in court for his preliminary hearing on May 20.
For each of the five counts of possessing or accessing sexually exploitative materials of a child, Blatter faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
For each of the eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child, Hornof faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service and Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office assisted the ICAC Unit with the arrest of Blatter and the Blackfoot Police Department, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations and Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office assisted the ICAC Unit with the arrest of Hornof, according to a Wednesday press release from the Idaho Office of the Attorney General.
Anyone with information regarding the exploitation of children is encouraged to contact local police, the Attorney General’s ICAC Unit at 208-947-8700, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
The Attorney General’s ICAC Unit works with the Idaho ICAC Task Force, a coalition of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute individuals who use the internet to criminally exploit children.
Parents, educators and law enforcement officials can find more information and helpful resources at the ICAC website, ICACIdaho.org.