FRESNO, CA—A grand jury in Fresno returned three separate indictments today alleging offenses involving the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
In the first indictment, Tyler Bliss, 26, of Oakdale, was charged with one count of receiving and distributing child pornography from October 2013 through February 2014. According to a previously filed criminal complaint, Google reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that on December 3, 2013, an image of suspected child pornography had been uploaded to a Google account. NCMEC referred the matter to law enforcement, and a detective with the Ceres Police Department discovered that the same Google account had been connected with the transmission of hundreds of other images of suspected child pornography. Additional investigation revealed that the account had been accessed from a residence in Oakdale, as well as from a church in Oakdale. Computers and a cellphone were obtained through search warrants for both locations, and investigators found images related to the sexual exploitation of minors on these items. Bliss had been serving as supervisor of Student Ministries at the church.
Bliss has been in custody since his arrest by FBI agents Wednesday. He is scheduled for arraignment today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe. His custody status will be addressed at this court appearance. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Ceres Police Department and the Modesto FBI Resident Agency with initial assistance from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to contact the Modesto Resident Agency of the FBI at 209-543-7846.