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New technology aids Medford police in child porn suspect arrest

Medford police arrested a man this week after allegedly finding child pornography on his computer, a case aided by new technology that makes it harder for those who traffic in such images to cover their tracks.

Police lodged Timothy Jay Hanson, 59, in the Jackson County Jail around noon Wednesday after police served a search warrant at his home, in the 900 block of Mt. Pitt Street. Police said they found "evidence of child pornography" and seized computers and other electronic devices, according to a news release.

Hanson remained in the Jackson County Jail Friday, held on three counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree and three counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the second degree, according to jail records. His bail was set at $100,000.

Detectives opened the case in October, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. Two months prior, in August, the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force had put on a training on how to use technology designed by the Child Rescue Coalition, a nonprofit that aids law enforcement in tracking child predators. The technology is designed to help police track where child pornography is being shared across the globe.

"We work around the clock to collect and index 30 million to 50 million reports of online users trading child pornography every day," according to the Child Rescue Coalition website. "This information allows us to expose hidden networks of abusers and report their activity."

Suspects who transmit and download images of child pornography typically use run-of-the-mill file-sharing programs online, Budreau said.

"They obviously try to cover their tracks, call the files different things to get them shared," Budreau said. "This technology is able to let us infiltrate that and locate the child pornography images and then associate them to an IP address."

Hanson was not changing file names himself, but was allegedly sharing and downloading the images that had already been "masked," Budreau clarified. Specialized agencies like the High-Tech Crimes Task Force have historically made up the bulk of the agencies using the tech, Budreau said. That's changing.

"It's newer in that it's being shared with the common investigator," Budreau said. "It's getting easier to use, so to speak. It's always advancing, and now it's much less work on the investigator's side to get these investigations off the ground and get them going."

Hanson has no prior criminal history in the state of Oregon, court records show. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

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