A 33-year-old Merlin-area man has been sentenced to four years in prison for possessing child pornography. A prosecutor said the images were part of a huge collection, some of which showed children being raped.
"Every time a person downloads or views images of a child being sexually abused, that child is victimized again," Josephine County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Mulkins said, following the Monday sentencing of Joseph E. Kurz.
Kurz was charged in May after an undercover investigation was conducted to locate people using the Internet to obtain or distribute child pornography. There are no allegations that any local children were depicted in images in the Kurz case.
The Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force investigated.
The allegations stem from incidents in 2007 to 2011, when detectives obtained a search warrant and searched the Kurz home, which at the time was in the New Hope area. Investigators seized evidence that later was analyzed by computer examiners. Images were found showing explicit conduct involving boys and girls from 5 to 14 years old.
Mulkins said that Kurz possessed one of the largest computerized collections of child pornography in Oregon.
"The child pornography was extremely graphic," the prosecutor said. "It depicted little children being raped and sodomized." "All child pornography is evil, poison," Mulkins continued. "The hard-core pornography Mr. Kurz possessed was as bad as any I have seen."
Kurz pleaded guilty to 11 counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree. Josephine Circuit Judge Lindi Baker ordered that he serve three years of post-prison supervision and must register as a sex offender, in addition to the prison time. He may receive credit for time spent in custody and time off for any good behavior.
Reach Daily Courier reporter Shaun Hall at 541-474-3813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.