More charges added in Talent sex offender case
The man found hiding in the girls locker room at Talent Middle School in June took photos of nine students while he was there, according to a release from the Talent Police Department.
Curtis Bradley Stevenson, 41, who has been held in the Jackson County Jail since his June 3 arrest, now faces nine additional charges of attempting to use a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, police said. His charges already included two counts of burglary, two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, identity theft and computer crime.
Police found photos of nine female students, who were clothed, on cell phones seized from Stevenson. The majority of the students were identified and their parents contacted, according to the release.
A PE teacher at Talent Middle School discovered Stevenson in the girls locker room; surveillance footage later showed that he had been let in through a side door by a student, and he had remained in the locker room for over an hour, said Principal Aaron Santi in June.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office, which assisted Talent police with its investigation, also released information about additional charges. Stevenson, according to public information officer Sgt. Julie Denney, was already on the Jackson County Sheriff's Office's radar due to an ongoing investigation into the contents of electronics that detectives seized from his former residence about a year prior to the Talent Middle School incident.
The sheriff's office said today it charged Stevenson with 10 counts of encouraging child sex abuse. Those charges stem from its own investigation that began May 2018.
In that separate case, an Oregon Department of Justice task force alerted sheriff's office detectives that they had information from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children about a local Facebook user who had attempted to upload graphic images of child sexual abuse. Stevenson was identified as the suspect in that case.
Detectives served a search warrant in June 2018 at Stevenson's registered address in the 7200 block of Crowfoot Road in Trail, a news release from the sheriff's office said. They seized multiple electronic devices and transferred them to the DOJ for a forensic search.
The results of that search weren't disclosed until about 14 months later. Denney said that higher-priority criminal cases, such as homicides or major sexual assaults, can push cases without identified victims, such as Stevenson's, down on the list.
"It's not unusual," she said. "Cases are triaged by the labs because there’s such a high demand for analysis of electronics."
While waiting for the results, she said, the department had no evidence on which to base an ongoing investigation into Stevenson, aside from compliance with the terms of his registration as a sex offender.
"There’s nothing we really can do regarding that investigation until we have evidence to move forward," she said.
In the meantime, Stevenson allegedly moved without notifying local law enforcement, as his June 3, 2019 arrest tied him to an address in the 2400 block of Valley View Road, Ashland.
"He was out of compliance," said Tim Doney, chief of Talent police, in June. "He wasn’t living where he was indicated he was living."
The electronics Jackson County Sheriff's detectives seized last June were eventually found to contain multiple images depicting child sexual abuse. Denney said the Sheriff's Office worked with the Jackson County District Attorney's Office to establish the charges. Counts generally correspond to the number of image or videos, she said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also assisted with the investigation, she said.
Doney said that the police department and the school district have worked together to try to secure campuses so similar incidents don't happen. In the immediate aftermath of the intrusion, Santi said in June that teachers and other school staff would be talking with students about the importance of not letting strangers in through side doors.
Improvements included in the Phoenix-Talent school bond are also expected to add to school security. Ernie Whiteman, a school resource officer who began working part-time at the school last spring, will also be on campus a few days each week again this school year.
Doney said, however, that a case where someone gains access for so long is extremely rare.
"It's one of those cases that is probably kind of once in a lifetime," he said, "and you just hope it never happens again."