news-151109765-ar-0-jbatftegmolu.jpg
John Curtis Ehly

Medford man allegedly sent son's photo to elicit child porn on app

A Medford father is suspected of using a picture of his toddler son to lure people into sharing child pornography with him via a smartphone messaging app.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court, John Curtis Ehly, 47, of the 300 block of Ogara Street, used the smartphone app Kik Messenger to distribute and share images and videos of child exploitation. Ehly is suspected of using an image of his son in a stroller to bait an individual into sharing further child exploitation videos.

Kik's reputation as a venue for child pornography has its own subsection on Wikipedia, which notes the messaging app is seen as more anonymous than other platforms, such as Facebook, because it doesn't require phone numbers or email addresses from users. 

Ehly allegedly had engaged with a user who uploaded images and videos of child exploitation using the messenger. The user reportedly asked Ehly, "U got any?"

According to police, Ehly's response was, "No, but in 2 months there will be lots."

When the user asked why, Ehly allegedly uploaded an image of a toddler sitting in a stroller with his back facing the camera and commented, "To young to model yet."

Homeland Security investigators issued summonses to Kik and later CenturyLink before identifying Ehly. During the initial investigation, police learned Ehly and his partner had a toddler-aged child.

A search warrant was issued Tuesday, and Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrested Ehly at his home on felony charges of methamphetamine possession and two counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. The case was moved to federal court Wednesday.

According to the federal complaint, Ehly confessed to a Homeland Security investigator that he was part of a group on Kik Messenger that shared child pornography. He allegedly admitted to using the image of his son to persuade the user to share other images and said he had looked at child exploitation images with his partner since 2008 or 2009.

Investigators seized computers and devices, including Ehly's Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, several computers and USB thumb drives.

Ehly remains in the Jackson County Jail without bail.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com.

Share This Story