A federal prosecutor is seeking a prison sentence of more than 16 years for Bob Lambert, the former director of the Visitors Bureau of Highland County, on charges related to child pornography, while the defense attorneys in the case are asking for a sentence of no more than 5 years.
United States District Court Judge Susan J. Dlott will sentence Lambert on Jan. 5 in the Southern District Court of Ohio in Cincinnati.
In a federal court appearance in July, Lambert, 64, pled guilty to two federal charges, while two other charges were dismissed. Lambert remains free on home confinement.
After a presentence report was issued recommending that Lambert receive more than 16 years in prison, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case filed a memorandum asking the judge to follow that recommendation, which would be followed by 8 years of supervised release.
The prosecutor said Lambert photographed and filmed minor males performing sex acts, and possessed more than 1,000 images of child pornography he obtained online.
“He has been employed most of his life and appears to have the support of his family and other members of his community,” U.S. assistant attorney Christy Muncy acknowledged in a memorandum filed Dec. 8. “However, the side of him which films, photographs then shares images of children engaging in sex acts is not known to them. There is little doubt Lambert is troubled in a way his family and friends are unaware.”
But Lambert’s defense attorneys, William Butler, Jr., and Adam Bleile, argued in a memorandum that the minors in the case were 16 and 17 years old, and that prosecutors were using charges in their sentencing recommendation to which Lambert did not plead guilty. They refer to numerous community organizations that Lambert was involved with, and cite health problems he suffers from. They also note mental health counseling sessions Lambert has attended.
“Mr. Lambert at age 64 is in extremely poor health as has been noted,” the defense argued. “Mr. Lambert believes that a sentence of the mandatory minimum 5 years would comport” with sentencing guidelines designed “to comply with the ends of justice, considering the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.”
Lambert was arrested at his Hillsboro home on Aug. 9 of 2016 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. Lambert was dismissed immediately from his job with the tourism bureau.
Police had originally charged Lambert 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.
The local charges were dropped after Lambert was indicted in September 2016 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.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.