News and Press Releases

Coeur d'Alene Man Sentenced for Possessing Hundreds of Images of Child Pornography

February 29, 2012

COEUR D'ALENE – Charley Brigham Leighton II, 41, of Hayden Lake, Idaho, was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for possession of sexually explicit images of minors, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Leighton to serve 15 years of supervised release, forfeit the computers and media used in the offense, and register as a sex offender. Leighton pled guilty to the charge on October 31, 2011.

According to the plea agreement, on May 8, 2010, an Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) investigator developed information that an Internet Protocol (IP) address registered to Leighton's Hayden Lake residence was using “peer-to-peer” software to download and share digital media of child pornography, including images and video. The ICAC investigator analyzed digital signatures of six files on the computer and was able to confirm that they contained child pornography. A federal search warrant was executed at the residence on August 26, 2010, during which investigators seized a desktop computer, a laptop computer, and several thumb-drives and DVDs. Leighton was present during the search and agreed to speak to ICAC investigators. He admitted that he had been downloading child pornography for at least a year and that he had downloaded over 1,000 images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

A forensic review of Leighton's computers, DVDs and thumb drives by U.S. Secret Service found over 300 photos and 40 videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the images were of children from Missouri, Georgia, Connecticut, Michigan, Florida, and Washington state; and France, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, England, and the Netherlands.

“Obtaining and possessing child pornography sexually exploits the children who appear in these heinous images again and again and again,” said Olson. “Mr. Leighton’s lengthy prison sentence sends a strong message that Idaho law enforcement, prosecutors and courts well understand that protecting our children against those who would exploit them is a critical criminal justice mission. I commend the North Idaho working group of Idaho’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their outstanding work on this case. ”

The case was investigated by the North Idaho ICAC working group, comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in North Idaho, including the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, Post Falls Police Department, Shoshone County Sheriff's Office, Moscow Police Department, Bonner County Sheriff's Office, Lewiston Police Department, Idaho Attorney General's Office, Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office, the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).