MEDFORD, Oregon – A sex offender arrested in a crackdown on child pornography in the Ruch area in 2019 was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday, according to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.
In September 2019, investigations began against 42-year-old Joaquin Amadeus Cowart. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children gave local law enforcement a notice that Cowart may have shared child pornography through Facebook. In the weeks that followed, investigators received several search warrants to confirm Cowart’s identity and location.
In October, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office searched Cowart’s home in Ruch and seized several digital devices. The Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force analyzed the devices and confirmed that Cowart had shared at least one exploitative image and possessed others.
Cowart was already in jail on a pending arrest warrant. Following the October searches, Cowart was charged with child pornography by a grand jury in December.
Following Cowart’s arrest on the initial charges, a victim reported to the sheriff’s office and revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by Cowart “about ten years ago,” the prosecutor’s office said. The victim was a minor at the time of the abuse.
Another grand jury met and heard evidence of the sexual abuse allegations, which confirmed four cases of second-degree sexual abuse.
During a settlement conference on May 24th, Cowart agreed to plead guilty of promoting first-degree child sexual abuse and four cases of second-degree sexual abuse. Under the agreement, an additional five incidents of second-degree child sexual abuse incidents and one pending lawsuit in Josephine County were dismissed.
On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Barnack sentenced Cowart to a total of 144 months in state prison plus three years of post-prison surveillance. Cowart is already a convicted sex offender and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.