Eric Kidman

Eric Kidman

An Idaho Falls man being sentenced Wednesday for recording a teenage girl without her knowledge indicated he had more pornography than was recovered.

“I’m surprised the detectives did not find all the evidence,” Eric Kidman, 24, told the court.

District Judge Bruce Pickett sentenced Kidman to four years fixed in prison with an indeterminate period of six years for possession of sexually exploitative material. He sentenced Kidman to four to 24 years for child sexual abuse by making photographs of a minor. The sentences will be served concurrently. Four other charges of possession of child sexually exploitative material were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

The judge told Kidman he could have stopped himself at several steps in his plan to abuse the victim, but continued anyway.

Kidman was arrested in June after the victim found a camera hidden in a potted plant in her room. Kidman asked to see the camera and removed the micro SD card. He later told the family he had dropped and lost the card, according to a police report, and told the victim she should throw the camera away.

Investigators found hundreds of images and videos of child pornography in an online account Kidman had used. The pornography depicted girls ranging from toddlers to pre-teens, several of whom were being raped or sexually abused by adult men.

Kidman immediately walked back his statement in court about more evidence, telling the judge he meant evidence on his hard drive at home. Idaho Falls Police Department Spokeswoman Jessica Clements said the department is looking for a hard drive Kidman owned that is unaccounted for, and that it may hold more child pornography.

The victim’s mother read an impact statement on behalf of her daughter, saying she believes Kidman wants to find the hard drive after he is released from prison. Kidman said in court he no longer had the hard drive.

The victim’s mother said Kidman’s crimes had affected her daughter’s trust in others, especially men.

“She always saw the good in others, trusted others and loved with an open heart,” the mother said.

After discovering the camera, the victim did not believe Kidman could be responsible because they had been friends. After he admitted to recording her, the victim became uncomfortable being alone in public and began having nightmares.

“Looking back, it is easy to see how he cleverly crafted every interaction he had with her,” the victim’s mother said.

Kidman told law enforcement he had shared some of the video recordings online, causing the teenage victim to fear people she knew may see it.

The victim’s mother said she feared Kidman may have abused others, including an infant he had access to who had bruising on the back and buttocks.

During a polygraph examination, Kidman was asked if he had ever fondled an underage child. He answered no, but the polygraph indicated he was being deceptive.

Defense Attorney Kelly Mallard objected to the victim impact statement, saying the victim’s mother was making accusations Kidman had not been charged with. Pickett said he would base his sentence only on the charges that had been made, but allowed the impact statement to continue.

The victim’s mother expressed disgust that Kidman had attempted to use his religion to gain access to other children. His coworkers told a detective Kidman had volunteered to babysit for them, and wanted to set up a faith group for children.

The victim’s mother also said that there were 125 known victims in the child porn Kidman possessed, and that one charge was not enough to do justice for them.

“Including my daughter, that makes 126 identifiable victims,” the mother said.

Mallard said his client expected to be sentenced to prison instead of a rider program. He said Kidman has no criminal history or substance abuse problems, and had been active in his church and had started viewing child porn in 2016.

“He’s never made an excuse for it,” Mallard said. “He knows he made the choice to watch it.”

Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey cited Kidman’s attempted deception on the polygraph as concerning. He said the harm Kidman caused by sharing a video of the victim was “extreme.”

“I don’t think we’ll ever know the depths of his problems,” Dewey said.

Kidman told the judge he had prepared comments, but felt unprepared after hearing the victim impact statement. He said he doubted anyone would believe him after being branded as a sex offender.

Kidman apologized to the victim and her family and said he wanted to take responsibility for his crimes.

Pickett said he was concerned about Kidman’s dishonesty during the investigation. He cited the psychosexual evaluation in which Kidman told the evaluator he had tried only once to record the victim, despite earlier admitting to recording her three times.

Pickett said the four-year minimum sentence would give Kidman a chance to change his behavior.

“I want you monitored, frankly, for as long as I can on this,” Pickett said.

Kidman was also ordered to pay $2,000 in fines. He will have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.

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