News and Press Releases

Former Jacksonville Middle School Guidance Counselor Sentenced To 140 Years In Federal Prison For Production, Receipt And Possession Of Child Pornography

November 30 , 2011

Jacksonville, FL - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan today sentenced Robert Allan Cowan (50, Jacksonville) to 140 years in prison and a life term of supervised release on federal child pornography charges. On October 7, 2010, Cowan was found guilty after a jury trial of using a minor to produce images of child pornography, as well as for receiving and possessing child pornography. Cowan has been in custody since August 18, 2009.

According to court testimony and evidence introduced during trial, the investigation of this case revealed that Cowan, who was a middle school guidance counselor in Jacksonville and had been employed in Duval and Nassau County public schools since 1993, had produced images of a 4-year-old child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Cowan was arrested on August 18, 2009, and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives subsequently obtained computer media from his residence in north Jacksonville, from his office at Ft. Caroline Middle School, and a storage shed in Jacksonville. Subsequent forensic analysis by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Secret Service agents revealed that Cowan’s computers, smart phone, external hard drives and other media contained hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, included those which he himself had produced. Many of these images and videos were downloaded by Cowan from the internet and stored on his computer media since July 2008, and many depicted young children being raped and sexually abused.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Florida Department of Children and Families, and the United States Secret Service.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "other resources."









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