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Portage man admits child porn and attempted child sexual abuse violations

Portage man admits child porn and attempted child sexual abuse violations

Troy Kidwell

Troy Kidwell

HAMMOND — A Region man is pleading guilty to possession of child pornography and attempted sexual abuse of children.

Ride along with Officer Jimmy Weller as he patrols the region's border of Lake Michigan as part of the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Unit. Video by Connor Burge. 

Troy Kidwell, 39, of Portage, appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John E. Martin after signing a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office to avoid the possibility of life imprisonment, if convicted by a jury.

Kidwell and the U.S. attorney have agreed a 25-year sentence would be fair and appropriate in his case.

It would be followed by a 15-year period of supervised release monitored by the court’s probation department.

His plea agreement states Kidwell admits he used a cell phone in late December 2019, to persuade a 10 year-old girl to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Authorities arrested Kidwell near the victim’s home.

He also is admitting he additionally used his cell phone during 2019 to receive thousands of still photos and about 100 videos of minors engaging in sexual activity.

He also used called someone he believed to be the mother of two underage girls and expressed his desire to have sex with the girls — not knowing he was actually communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer in Florida.

Kidwell also is agreeing to pay one of his victims, a 16-year-old Tennessee girl, $10,000 in restitution to cover all counseling and psychological therapy she needs.

The U.S. attorney also has agreed not to file any additional criminal charges against Kidwell over any other violations uncovered by the federal investigation of his conduct in this case.

He also will have to comply with state and federal sex offender registration rules for the rest of his life.

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