Edmonson Voice Report:
United States Attorney Russell Coleman today announced the charging of Robert Alan Thompson, 33, of Hodgenville, Kentucky, for online enticement of a minor and production of child pornography.
“Our most basic job in law enforcement is to protect families from violence and safe from predators; when the later are wolves in a sheep‘s clothing of a teacher, that becomes even more urgent,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “As this result shows, the federal partnership with AG Cameron and local partners like the Radcliff Police Department are delivering to protect our most vulnerable Kentuckians.”
“We won’t stand for child exploitation in the Commonwealth, and we’re going after anyone who tries to take advantage of children,” said Attorney General Cameron. “I appreciate the work of our Cyber Crimes Unit and the strong partnership with U.S. Attorney Coleman, which were instrumental in bringing these charges.”
According to the Complaint Affidavit, following execution of a state search warrant, Thompson told investigators that he had received two pictures of underage boys (13-14 years old), from Matthew Lyons. Lyons, 33, was previously charged by the United States Attorney’s Office in April 2020, for several child exploitation offenses, including sex trafficking of a child, online enticement, and attempted production of child pornography.
Thompson is a former middle school teacher in both Franklin and Hardin counties. Hardin County fired Thompson following his arrest on related state charges in April 2020. A Detective with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office Department of Criminal Investigations conducted a digital forensic examination of Thompson’s phone. During the examination, the Detective discovered Thompson’s social media discussions with a minor (John Doe 1). Further investigation revealed that John Doe 1 was Thompson’s former middle school student. During the online communications, Thompson urged John Doe 1 to send him (Thompson), sexually explicit images. John Doe 1 complied.
The online enticement charge carries penalties of not less than 10 years and not more than life in prison. The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison. A conviction under either or both charge also involves fines and Supervised Release of at least five years and could be any number of years up to an including life.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a United States Magistrate Judge. Charges set forth in a complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless is prosecuting the case. The Kentucky Office of Attorney General, Department of Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the United States Secret Service, Kentucky State Police, and Radcliffe Police Department, conducted the investigation.