Crime

Kalispell Man Admits to Sexually Exploiting Child

Edward Timothy Cockerham pleaded guilty in federal court and faces 15 to 30 years in prison

By Maggie Dresser

A Kalispell man accused of taking sexually explicit photographs of a child while boating on Ashley Lake in Flathead County admitted to federal criminal charges on Oct. 13, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson.

Edward Timothy Cockerham, 43, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least five years of supervised release.

On June 24, Cockerham took two children boating on Ashley Lake where he touched and took explicit photos of one underage child while they were out on the water, according to court documents.

The victim reported Cockerham’s actions, records state, prompting Flathead County Sheriff’s Office deputies to seize Cockerham’s cell phone pursuant to a warrant. An initial review determined Cockerham had deleted all of the images from his cell phone. Following a second search warrant, the sheriff’s office sent the cell phone to the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation computer lab where a forensic examiner located sexually explicit images of the victim, according to documents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided over Cockerham’s pleading. Sentencing was set for Jan. 27, 2022 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Cockerham was detained pending the hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative.

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