MISSOULA – A Kalispell man accused of taking sexually explicit photographs of a child while boating on Ashley Lake in Flathead County admitted charges today, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Edward Timothy Cockerham, 43, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child. Cockerham faces a mandatory minimum 15 years to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least five years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. Sentencing was set for Jan. 27, 2022 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Cockerham was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that on June 24, Cockerham went to Ashley Lake and was accompanied by two children. Cockerham took the victim, who was under the age of 18 and was identified as Jane Doe 1, boating. While out on the water, Cockerham touched and took sexually explicit pictures of Jane Doe 1. Jane Doe 1 reported Cockerham’s actions. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office seized Cockerham’s cell phone and searched it pursuant to a warrant. An initial review determined Cockerham had deleted all of the images from his cell phone. The sheriff’s office obtained a second search warrant and sent the cell phone to the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation computer lab. A forensic examiner located sexually explicit images of Jane Doe 1.
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, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Montana