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Child exploitation task force investigations lead to two arrests

Area law enforcement are shown in this photograph from November of 2021 while serving a Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team warrant. JCSO photo

Two local men were arrested this week in separate child pornography cases. The suspects are not connected.

At 8 a.m. Monday, Kaleb Scott Hanson, 22, of the 500 block of Meadow Lane in Eagle Point, was arrested by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Hanson has been charged with two counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, two counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse and six counts of encouraging sexual assault of an animal.

On Monday afternoon, Nickolas James Parnell, 32, of Central Point, was arrested by U.S. Marshals from the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force on 15 counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse.

Both arrests came as a result of months-long investigations by the Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team, according to police.

SOCET conducted a search Aug. 10, 2021, after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that someone had allegedly uploaded child exploitation images from the residence on Meadow Lane.

During the search, investigators seized digital devices that were examined by the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force.

Hanson is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $250,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday on a 10-count grand jury indictment issued March 11.

U.S. Marshals took Parnell into custody at the Parole and Probation office in Medford. Parnell is on federal probation for possession of child pornography in Idaho.

SOCET investigators searched Parnell’s residence Nov. 30, 2021, after receiving a tip from NCMEC that someone had uploaded child exploitation images. Central Point police assisted with the search at a house in the 500 block of Briarwood Drive in Central Point, where police seized digital devices.

Parnell is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $250,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday on a 15-count grand jury indictment issued March 3.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said the arrests stemmed from cases that surfaced during 2021, bringing the number of 2021 SOCET arrests to 28. Out of these cases, 24 victims were identified.