Portland man faces up to 130 years in prison on Louisa County charges
LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A man from Oregon faces up to 130 years in prison in connection with a Louisa County exploitation case.
Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire announced on Wednesday that 50-year-old Daniel R. Thomas from Portland, Oregon, was convicted on multiple charges.
According to a release, Thomas was initially scheduled to stand trial Wednesday on charges of indecent liberties with a minor, production of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor. Instead, he pleaded guilty to all charges.
Evidence shows that in early 2022, a father in Louisa County was checking his child’s phone when he noticed inappropriate conversations with another person on it.
He gave the phone to the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, which performed a forensic examination of the device and learned the conversations and other artifacts on the phone came from a phone with a Portland, Oregon area code.
Detectives then determined the person communicating with the child was an adult man living in a halfway house in Portland.
Law enforcement in Portland was contacted, and a search warrant was used at the halfway house, resulting in officials finding the phone the suspect was using to allegedly communicate with the Virginia child.
The release says Thomas admitted to Portland officials that he had recently been released from prison and was on probation.
A forensic examination of his phone confirmed Thomas was attempting to exploit a Louisa County child who he knew was a minor.
Thomas was extradited to Virginia, with the assistance of the Virginia State Police.
He was charged as a serial offender due to two previous convictions for sexual assault of minors under the age of 14 in Portland. Those charges stemmed from 2004.
The release says Louisa County prosecutors argued that the prior convictions for sexual assault of minors were very similar to Virginia’s aggravated sexual battery statute, allowing for enhanced punishment under state law.
Officials say cases like this highlight the importance of parents keeping an eye on their child’s electronic devices since in this case, a father was able to keep his child from further exploitation.
“We are thankful to the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, National Computer Forensics Institute, United States Secret Service, and the Portland Police Department for all of their teamwork and man hours in ensuring this predator was held accountable for stealing the innocence of a child,” said Megan Riordan, one of the Louisa County prosecutors involved in the case.
Upon pleading guilty to one count of indecent liberties with a minor under the age of 14, three counts of production of child pornography, and two counts of soliciting a minor over a communication device, Thomas faces a mandatory 20 years in prison.
Thomas will be sentenced on May 15.