NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 30, 2020
SAN DIEGO – Jeffrey John Lenhof was sentenced in federal court today to 7 years in federal prison for receipt of child pornography.
Lenhof first came to the attention of law enforcement when Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Agents discovered that files of child pornography had been made available from Lenhof’s residence, from as early as March 2017, via a peer-to-peer file sharing program that is easily accessible on the internet.
A federal search warrant was executed at Lenhof’s residence on April 30, 2019. Agents found that three computers, as well as an iPhone and an SD card seized from Lenhof’s residence, contained child pornography, or had been used to download or view child pornography.
Lenhof was charged with federal child pornography offenses, and pleaded guilty in December 2019 to having received child pornography. During the course of the investigation, Agents also discovered on
devices seized from Lenhof’s residence multiple videos which appeared to have been taken with hidden cameras, both in Lenhof’s residence and in other locations. One of those videos showed an adult man setting up a camera in a small bathroom. After the man exited the bathroom, what appeared to be a young teenaged girl entered the bathroom, undressed, and showered. After the girl exited the bathroom, the man could be seen returning to the bathroom to retrieve the camera.
Witnesses later confirmed that the video was taken in approximately 2009 in Lenhof’s home, that Lenhof is the man seen in the video setting up and retrieving the camera, that the girl in the video was 13 or 14 years old at the time the video was taken, and that the girl did not know she was being recorded. Agents seized a hidden camera from the residence at the time of the April 30, 2019, search warrant. After discovering this video, HSI agents executed a second search warrant at Lenhof’s residence on May 14, 2019, at which time agents seized three additional hidden cameras.
At the sentencing hearing, the U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller noted that child pornography offenses represent “one of the most serious and egregious forms of crimes” and that Lenhof’s non-consensual videorecording of women, including of the girl in his home, “speak to a pattern of conduct that became very troubling.”
“Sexual crimes against children are heinous and tragic, and we will protect vulnerable victims whenever possible,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We are focused on disrupting and dismantling these vile networks of predators who exploit children and share images online. Today is one more productive step in that direction.” Brewer commended the excellent work of prosecutor Janet Cabral and HSI agents on this case.
“Today’s sentencing highlights the hard work of our agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to take a child predator offline, and should serve as a warning to others who perpetuate the exploitation of children,” said Cardell T. Morant, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “Every one of the images and movies Lenhof produced and possessed was created at the expense of an innocent child, and sending criminals like Lenhof to jail will continue to be a top priority for HSI.”
Following his release from federal prison, Lenhof will be on federal supervised release for a period of 10 years. During that time, Lenhof will be required to comply with special conditions, including conditions prohibiting him from having contact with minors and accessing the internet.
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Formed in 2019, by U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Childhood, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Human Trafficking.
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 19cr2128-JM
Jeffrey John Lenhof Age: 41 Vista, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2), Receipt of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct
Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison
Homeland Security Investigations