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Two child sex-abuse offenders sentenced

Two men, one from Ashland and one from Medford, investigated by the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, were sentenced this week in Jackson County Circuit Court for encouraging child sexual abuse.

David Paul Cassidy, 57, of Ashland pleaded guilty Thursday to five counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse.

Cassidy was arrested in March after the task force conducted an undercover online investigation in November 2010 to find people in Southern Oregon who were involved with sexual exploitation of children. Cassidy distributed images depicting the sexual abuse of a prepubescent children to an undercover agent in the task force, officials said. The task force then tracked Cassidy to a house in the 500 block of Walnut Street of Ashland, where a search turned up digital evidence containing images of children being sexually abused, said Central Point police Lt. Josh Moulin, supervisor of the task force.

According to investigators, no evidence was found indicating that any of the children in the images were from Southern Oregon.

Circuit Court Judge Tim Gerking sentenced Cassidy to 24 months of prison and 36 months of post-prison supervision. Cassidy will have to register as a sex offender.

Francisco Isaias Acosta-Costillo, 20, of Medford, who pretended to be a teenage girl online in order to get nude photos from a boy, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of first- and second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse.

Acosta-Costillo was arrested in May 2011, a year after a Medford police school resource officer received a report of a 16-year-old boy being threatened and harassed via text message, a press release today said. The task force was contacted by the resource officer for assistance, and a joint investigation was launched.

Investigators then discovered Acosta-Costillo, posing as a girl, had requested a nude picture of the victim. After the boy sent him a picture, Acosta-Costillo asked for more sexually explicit pictures and video. Acosta-Costillo threatened the victim by telling him if he didn't send more pictures, Acosta-Costillo would post the nude image he already had on the Internet and send it to the victim's family, police said.

Acosta-Costillo posted the nude image on a Facebook page to reinforce his threats, investigators reported. As a result, the boy took more pictures and videos of himself and sent them to Acosta-Costillo, a press release said.

A search warrant was served at Acosta-Costillo's residence in the 200 block of North Ivy Street in Medford, and several items of digital evidence were seized.

Gerking sentenced Acosta-Costillo to 24 months in prison and 36 months of post-prison supervision. Acosta-Costillo is reportedly in the country illegally; after his 24-month prison sentence, he will be deported to Mexico, officials said.

The high-tech crimes task force has made the investigation of online sexual predators, and those who exchange images of child pornography a top priority, and will continue to aggressively investigate, identify and prosecute them, a press release stated.

Mandy Valencia is a reporter with the Mail Tribune. Reach her at mvalencia@mailtribune.com or 541-776-4486.