Crime

Oakdale youth pastor gets 5-year sentence for downloading child pornography

A judge on Tuesday sentenced a man to five years in federal prison for downloading child pornography at an Oakdale church where he served as youth pastor.

Tyler David Bliss, 28, of Oakdale on March 2 pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography, according to a plea agreement memo filed in federal court. He agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors to avoid a trial.

Along with the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill ordered Bliss to serve 15 years of supervised release once he is out of prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

Federal prosecutors said Bliss downloaded the child porn with computers at his home and his church. Bliss was a supervisor of student ministries at Bethel Church when he was arrested Feb. 17, 2014. The Oakdale church on G Street is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

The filed plea agreement indicates Bliss downloaded more than 600 images of child porn from October 2013 through February 2014. Several of the images depicted prepubescent children and at least one image depicted violent or sadistic conduct.

The Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force launched an investigation into Bliss’ online activity when Google Inc. reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that on Dec. 3, 2013, an image of suspected child pornography had been uploaded using a Google email account.

Ceres police Detective Britton Moore was assigned to the federally funded task force. Moore determined that Bliss’ email account had been used extensively for the purpose of trading in child pornography, according a filed federal affidavit.

During questioning at the Ceres Police Department, Bliss told investigators he paid $12.95 per month for a website subscription to access the child porn images. He told investigators he sent the images to four other email accounts, where he stored the images, according to the affidavit.

FBI special agent Mark Lucas wrote in the affidavit that those trading in child porn often have numerous email accounts, because email service providers will close down accounts as soon as child porn images are discovered.

Rosalio Ahumada: (209) 578-2394, @ModBeeCourts

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