FORMER ISU EMPLOYEE WHO EMBEZZLED OVER $100K NOW CHARGED WITH CHILD SEX CRIMES
July 27, 2020
Idaho State Journal
BLACKFOOT — A former Idaho State University employee on felony probation for embezzling over $100,000 from the school now faces seven decades in prison for possessing child pornography, according to court records.
Bingham County prosecutors have charged Tyler Gene Liddle, 32, of Blackfoot, with five counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child stemming from an Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children and U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation, according to the Idaho Office of the Attorney General news release.
The investigation also included the Blackfoot Police Department, which fielded a complaint late last year from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), according to police reports the Idaho State Journal recently obtained.
Blackfoot police detectives this past December received a cyber tip and complaint regarding content flagged as child pornography from NCMEC that had been distributed using the social media application Snapchat, police said. Facebook had previously flagged the same content and also reported it to NCMEC, police said.
Blackfoot police on Dec. 6, 2019, investigated the complaint and determined the content contained an image of a mostly nude girl between the approximate ages of 11 and 15, police said.
On April 15, 2020, Blackfoot police detectives received another complaint from NCMEC reported by Instagram that contained an image of a nude girl between the approximate ages of 11 and 14, police said.
The investigation revealed the reported images were transmitted via internet services belonging to Liddle at an address on the 2800 block of Hunters Loop in Blackfoot, according to police reports.
Officers with the Blackfoot Police Department, Idaho Falls Police Department, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, District 7 Probation and Parole Office and Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant at Liddle’s home on July 21.
During the search of Liddle’s home, police recovered additional images of child pornography, of which four of the images contained nude prepubescent girls between the approximate ages of 9 and 14, police said.
Liddle was subsequently arrested and transported to the Bingham County Jail in Blackfoot where he remains incarcerated.Liddle in November 2017 was ordered to serve 14 years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of misusing public funds, a felony, in July of 2017. While a financial technician at ISU, Liddle embezzled over $116,000 from the school by creating more than 400 fraudulent cash reimbursement invoices, the Journal reported in 2017.
Sixth District Judge Robert Naftz suspended a 14-year prison sentence against Liddle and instead placed him on felony probation for 14 years, which required Liddle to pay over $116,000 in restitution and serve 150 hours of community service.
Naftz had denied Liddle’s request for withheld judgement and opted for probation over prison time because a pre-sentencing investigation revealed Liddle was at low-risk to commit future crimes and that this was his first felony offense, Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog told the Journal in 2017.
Liddle, who has retained Blackfoot attorney Jeffrey Merle Kunz to represent him, appeared in front of 7th District Judge James Howard Barrett Jr. Wednesday for his initial appearance regarding the child sex crime allegations levied against him.
Barrett set Liddle’s bond at $75,000 during that hearing, court records say.
Liddle is due back in court on July 30 for a hearing in which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence to take his case to trial.
If convicted of the five felony exploitation of a child charges against him, Liddle faces up to 70 years in prison and up to $90,000 in fines.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.