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Detectives arrest suspect in Applegate child pornography case

Investigators found 700 pictures depicting child sex abuse, and more than 50 pictures of animal sex abuse, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Dec 20, 2019 1:55 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2019 3:13 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — On Friday morning, detectives with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office arrested a man suspected of downloading hundreds of pictures depicting child sex abuse and dozens of pictures showing animal sex abuse.

The investigation began in September of 2018 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified the Sheriff's Office that child pornography was being downloaded at a house in the 7300-block of Upper Applegate Road south of Ruch.

The case soon led investigators to serve a search warrant at the home of 61-year-old Gary Lee Watts. Evidence found at the house was analyzed by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, which found roughly 700 pictures of child pornography and more than 50 images of animal sex abuse, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives arrested Watts at his home on Friday morning — more than a year after the investigation began. He faces 20 counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse I and 10 counts of Encouraging Sexual Assault of an Animal.

Mike Moran with the Sheriff's Office told NewsWatch 12 that the delay in arresting Watts had everything to do with the complexity of processing evidence found at the man's home.

"There was a lot of evidence to go through," Moran said. "It's not a simple process."

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office said that it was assisted in the case by Oregon State Police, the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, Medford Police, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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