MEDFORD, Ore. — A sex offender arrested in the Ruch area in 2019 during a child pornography raid was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison, according to the Jackson County District Attorney's office.
An investigation into 42-year-old Joaquin Amadeus Cowart began in September of 2019. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children passed on a tip to local law enforcement that Cowart may have been exchanging child pornography via Facebook. Over the following weeks, investigators obtained several search warrants to confirm Cowart's identity and location.
In October, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office raided 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 being held in jail on an outstanding warrant. Following the October searches, Cowart was indicted on child pornography charges in December by a grand jury.
After Cowart's arrest on the initial charges, a victim came forward to the Sheriff's Office and revealed that they had been sexually abused by Cowart "some ten years prior," the DA's office said. The victim was a juvenile at the time of the abuse.
Another grand jury met and heard evidence regarding the sex abuse allegations, approving four counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree.
During a settlement conference on May 24, Cowart agreed to plead guilty to Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and four counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree. An additional five counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree and a pending case in Josephine County were dismissed as part of the agreement.
On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Barnack sentenced Cowart to a total of 144 months in state prison, plus three years of post-prison supervision. Already a convicted sex offender, Cowart will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.