The former director of the Highland County Visitors Bureau pled not guilty Thursday to obscenity charges in federal court and will be released on his own recognizance as of Friday but placed on home confinement, according to court documents.
Bob Lambert appeared for a detention hearing and arraignment Thursday morning in Cincinnati, represented by his new attorney, Adam Bleile of the Cincinnati firm Bleile and Associates.
Lambert was granted OR bond with the condition of 24-hour home incarceration beginning Friday, according to court records. He had previously been held on $50,000 bond. He entered pleas of not guilty to the four counts against him.
The hearing was conducted by Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz. The case was continued to Judge Susan J. Dlott for further proceedings.
Lambert was indicted in September by a federal grand jury on two counts of producing or attempting to produce child pornography, and one count each of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.
The indictments say that between June 1 and June 25, 2016, Lambert “did knowingly employ, use, persuade, induce, entice and coerce a minor… to engage in sexually explicit conduct… for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct… which visual depiction was produced using materials that had been mailed, shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer.”
A separate indictment states that Lambert possessed pornographic material involving a minor “who had not attained 12 years of age…”
Lambert was arrested Aug. 9 after the Hillsboro Police Department received information regarding “criminal activity involving sexual acts with minors at a residence in the 400 block of East Main Street,” according to a press release at the time from HPD. “During this investigation officers received information that led to a search warrant being served” at Lambert’s residence, police said.
Police took various electronic devices and other items after executing the search warrant and placing Lambert under arrest
Police had charged Lambert, 62, with second-degree felony illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material or performance, and fifth-degree felony pandering obscenity with a minor, according to court records.
Lambert was transferred this week from the Highland County Justice Center to Hamilton County. Anneka Collins, the county prosecutor, confirmed Thursday that the local charges against Lambert have been dismissed in lieu of the federal indictments against him.
The Times-Gazette learned that the case was initiated when a relative of a minor contacted police with concerns about the boy’s activities with Lambert. Police located and interviewed the minor, who is believed to be 16.
A short time before his arrest, Lambert had said on social media that he was planning to move to Florida, prompting police to act quickly.
According to an affidavit from Hillsboro Police Sgt. Shawn Kelley, the investigating officer in the case, Lambert “on or about the month of June, 2016 in Hillsboro, Ohio did unlawfully create, produce obscene material that portrayed a minor as one of its participants.” He “did also buy, procure, possess, or control obscene material, that has a minor as one of its participants,” the affidavit alleged.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.