Noted educator James Uphoff exercised “abysmal judgement” when he allegedly drove to his son’s vacant home and disposed of explicit materials in an alley trash can, U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice said on Monday.
Rice ordered Uphoff, who pleaded guilty last month to one federal count of possession of child pornography, to be electronically monitored at all times after he is released from jail.
Uphoff had been free while awaiting sentence after he pleaded guilty on Oct. 17 to the child pornography charge. However, he was placed in the Butler County Jail after police received a report on Oct. 22 of Uphoff allegedly placing items in the trash can that was scheduled to be emptied the next day.
A review by FBI agents found that the pictures and books Uphoff placed in the trash can included some child pornography that it was printed before 2000, according to court testimony.
Dressed in an orange and tan jail uniform, Rice released Uphoff on bond again but set additional conditions that he be monitored electronically; that he not access any pornography since the ages of those involved are not always apparent; that he have no computer access, including access to social media sites or anywhere child pornography could be obtained; and that he report immediately any contact he has with police to his pre-trial services officer Kelvin Gover.
Rice said it appeared Uphoff was attempting to “rid himself of items that perhaps he had in his home for many years.” But “the defendant, particularly when considered in light of his education and the like, exercises abysmal judgement.”
He added “the defendant quite obviously knew he ought not to have this matter in his home,” but could have called his attorneys after police searched his home originally in September 2012 to inform them about the materials.
Uphoff, who was found in possession of 550 pornographic images and two videos, could be sentenced on Jan. 21 to either six months or 24 months in a federal prison under his original plea agreement.
His lawyer, John Rion, said the items found in the trash can “were more than a decade old.”
“So there weren’t any fresh attempts at acquisition,” he said.
“He feels terrible,” Rion said. “He just couldn’t feel worse about having all these things enter into his life. He was a very proud man. Very proud of his accomplishments. Very proud of having his doctorate degree and representing some of the things in the community that he’s done.”
Uphoff’s career includes 40 years at Wright State University as a professor and associate director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, as president of the Oakwood Board of Education and of the eight-county Western Ohio Education Association from 1974-75.
The Oct. 22 incident happened just after Gover conducted a basic search of Uphoff’s home, according to court testimony. Assistant U.S. Attorney and Dayton Branch Chief Laura Clemmens said the fact that Uphoff “knew where it was and did not disclose that… and intentionally tried to dispose of it … is troubling.”
“It shows he has a lack of candor with the court,” she said.
Uphoff will be permitted to see his therapist and go to other doctor’s appointments and places with prior approval while being monitored. Rice said Uphoff must be released from the Butler County Jail by the end of Tuesday.
His wife, who was in the second row throughout the court hearing, declined to comment.