Local law enforcement discusses pandering obscenity cases


SIDNEY — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the Sidney Police Department and the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office have teamed up to provide more information about recent local pandering obscenity and child pornography cases and how they were discovered.

On March 9, 2023, Zachary Case was sentenced to 14-17.5 years in prison by the Shelby County Common Pleas Court for two charges of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, making him a Tier-II sex offender.

This case originated with an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) report of Case uploading child pornographic videos to a Dropbox account, which is an online storage service frequently used for file sharing. After an investigation by local law enforcement, Case was found to have possessed and shared additional child pornographic videos through multiple online platforms.

On April 19, 2023, David Archbold was also sentenced to 7-10.5 years in prison for two charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor, making him a Tier-III sex offender. Archbold was initially reported by Pinterest for sending a child pornographic image found on Pinterest to another person, and this offense was relayed to local law enforcement through ICAC. He was then found to have possessed additional child pornographic materials upon investigation of the initial offense.

Online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, Snapchat, Discord, Pinterest, Dropbox and LinkedIn are mandatory reporters of any activity involving this type of material to the National Center for Mission and Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s CyberTipline, which is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. NCMEC then distributes pertinent offenses to the state-level ICAC task force, which then alerts and works with local law enforcement to bring complaints to local prosecutor’s offices for action.

Child pornography and online child sexual exploitation continue to be rising concerns in the United States, with a significantly marked increase in the past few years. This upward trend has also been observed in Shelby County.

“In prior years our county would see perhaps one or two cases per year of this type of offense, but unfortunately in the past year or so it has been trending upward where we are now often alerted to one or two local offenses a month in the city or county jurisdictions,” said Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell.

Significant recent cases within the county include David McMahan, who was sentenced in January 2022 to 20-22 years in prison for five charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor, making him a Tier-II sex offender. Initial allegations in this case involved McMahan setting up a video camera in the bathroom of his home, obtaining nude images of minors, and downloading these materials onto his personal computer.

In early 2022, Mark Schulz was sentenced to 10 years in prison for 10 charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor, making him a Tier-II sex offender. Schulz possessed materials depicting child pornographic acts involving incest, bestiality and torture.

The state of Ohio classifies sexual offenders into three different tiers of severity. Tier-I sex offenders must register once a year for 15 years; Tier-II sex offenders must register every 180 days for 25 years; and Tier-III offenders, the most serious classification, must register every 90 days for life.

In September 2022, Claudie Whitt was sentenced to 14–17.5 years in prison for two charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor for videotaping a minor repeatedly without her knowledge while she showered, making him a Tier-II sex offender.

Sentenced as well in 2022 was William Justice who pled guilty to five charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor, making him a Tier-II sexual offender, with a total sentence of 30-33 years in prison. His child pornography offenses involved creating images of a toddler and were initially reported by Google, with ICAC alerting local law enforcement of the potential that a local victim was in danger, as well as his possession of other child pornographic videos.

“We are grateful for the partnership of ICAC and our local law enforcement in identifying the threat of child pornography in our community and enabling us to locate and charge offenders in this type of serious crime that victimizes children repeatedly when images and videos are shared digitally,” Sell said.

Offenses of pandering obscenity are applicable not only when adults possess and share obscene material but also when minors possess or share photos or videos depicting nudity. Even if shared in the context of a relationship between minors, any images or videos of this type may be flagged and reported by the apps within which they are possessed, shared, or disseminated, and fall under the Ohio Revised Code section for pandering in which they are felony offenses.

“In response to increasing internet dangers, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason applied for a specialized grant funding from the Department of Justice in 1999,” Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye said. “This funding helped launch the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. I was originally on the ICAC task force and supported their efforts. The task force now covers the entire state of Ohio and has 330 partner law enforcement agencies.

“The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office participates and receives approximately 25 local ICAC cases per year. We take these cases seriously and will vigorously investigate them. You must be very mindful of what internet sites you visit and always remember, if you download child porn, there is a trail and we will be on it,” Frye concluded.

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