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Central Point man sentenced in child pornography case

Nickolas James Parnell has prior conviction in Idaho

A man with a history of possessing child pornography was sentenced Tuesday to five years and eight months in prison after his latest arrest in Jackson County.

Nickolas James Parnell, 33, of Central Point pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to 10 counts of first-degree encouraging child sex abuse.

A former Boise resident, Parnell was arrested in April while still on probation from a 2016 case in which Idaho prosecutors said he had thousands of photos and videos of child pornography on laptop computers and DVDs.

The arrest came after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a report from the Discord communication platform that an unknown subject was uploading images of child exploitation in Jackson County, according to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

Started in 2015 as an online hang-out spot for people playing video games, Discord exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person activities were limited. Users can create private or public groups devoted to specific interests.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation says Discord doesn’t do enough to stop pornography trading on its platform.

The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team began an investigation into the report from Discord that someone was uploading child pornography in Jackson County.

Multiple search warrants were executed, revealing that Parnell was using various devices to exchange, upload and download images of child exploitation over a period of months. The Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, working in conjunction with the Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team, seized numerous electronic devices from Parnell's residence. Forensic analysis revealed more than 3,000 images of child exploitation on the devices, the DA’s Office said.

In addition to the prison sentence of five years and eight months imposed Tuesday by Circuit Court Judge Kelly Ravassipour, Parnell faces additional consequences stemming from his prior conviction in Idaho on federal charges. The details of that potential punishment aren’t known at this time, the DA’s Office said.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook prosecuted the latest case against Parnell.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.