A Medford man was found guilty on 20 counts of encouraging child abuse Wednesday after a bench trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

A Medford man was found guilty on 20 counts of encouraging child abuse Wednesday after a bench trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Judge Benjamin Bloom found Michael Anthony White, 51, of the 1200 block of Withington Street, Medford, guilty of 10 counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree, and an additional 10 counts in the second degree.

Encouraging child sex abuse entails the sharing and viewing of videos and still images of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts.

White waived his right to a jury trial, so his case was decided by the judge. He is set to be sentenced at 11 a.m. Friday.

White was first suspected of the crimes in January 2011 during an undercover investigation by the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force. During the investigation, the task force sought out individuals in Southern Oregon thought to be involved in the sexual exploitation of children. Investigators determined that White's home was the source of duplication and distribution of digital images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity.

In August 2011, task force members served a search warrant at White's residence. White was interviewed, and multiple items of digital evidence were seized for analysis.

White was indicted on the child porn charges in October and arrested by task force members about a week later as part of Operation Internet Angel, a coordinated effort across the state led by the Oregon Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

During the sweep, the task force seized more than 70 pieces of digital evidence, conducted more than 20 investigations and made several arrests.

As with several other arrests made during the October sweep, tips about child pornography come from a variety of sources, including computer repair shops and monitoring teams for individual Internet service providers. The monitoring teams look for illegal content on their websites. Images of child exploitation must be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a federal nonprofit agency. The center then tracks the illegal media back to its source and issues a tip to local law enforcement.

A majority of the task force's cases start with such tips.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.