An Eagle Point man is being held in the Jackson County Jail on charges he allegedly distributed images depicting sexual abuse of a girl younger than 10, police said.
An Eagle Point man is being held in the Jackson County Jail on charges he allegedly distributed images depicting sexual abuse of a girl younger than 10, police said. (Correction: See below)
Christopher Keith Hammer, 42, of Eagle Point, is in the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bail on numerous charges, including five counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree, five counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the second degree, and five counts of use of a child in display of sexually explicit conduct. Hammer is a registered sex offender, jail records show.
"We're very early in our investigation," said Lt. Mike Anderson of the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force.
Court records show Hammer was arraigned Friday, March 1. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled at 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 6, in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The investigation started after a federal agency contacted task force detectives Feb. 21 to report that a person they had been investigating was suspected of trading sexually explicit images of minors over the Internet with a Southern Oregon suspect, later identified as Hammer.
"They identified someone who is trading or disseminating images of a pre-teen female," Anderson said.
The methodology for the trading of images is still under investigation. Suspects can trade the images via online chat rooms and private message boards.
"It was traded via the Internet, however, we do not believe it was posted," Anderson said.
On Feb. 28, task force detectives obtained a search warrant and went to Hammer's home in the 600 block of Brandi Way in Eagle Point. Hammer was not home, but eventually returned. After a short interview, police arrested him and lodged him in jail. Police also seized computers, external hard drives, media cards and cellular phones from the home. Task force detectives are analyzing the electronics for additional evidence. Other evidence was also taken from the home, but police would not elaborate, as the investigation is ongoing.
Police have identified one of the victims in the photos as a child who lives in the area.
— Ryan Pfeil
Correction: The victim's age has been corrected in this version.