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Press Release

Valdosta Resident Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Young Woman First Reported Defendant for Taking Suspicious Photos of Her at Work

MACON, Ga. – A Valdosta, Georgia, resident was sentenced to federal prison this week for possessing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) of extremely young minors after an initial investigation into the defendant taking suspicious photos of a young woman at her workplace.

James Spencer Cochran, 50, of Valdosta, was sentenced to serve 78 months in prison to be followed by 15 years of supervised release and $4,500 in restitution to a victim by U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson on April 26, after he previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child sexual abuse material on Sept. 20, 2022. In addition, Cochran will have to register as a sex offender for life upon his release from federal prison. There is no parole.

“A teenager reported that her privacy had been violated by a customer at her workplace; her call resulted in a child predator being held accountable for possessing child sexual abuse material of young children,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to thank this concerned citizen for speaking up, and I am grateful that the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI swiftly launched an investigation which held this predator accountable.”

“This sentencing of Mr. Cochran removes from our community an individual who has demonstrated his willingness to exploit vulnerable children through child sexual abuse material,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI and our partners work every day to protect our children and will continue to use every law enforcement resource available to identify those who take advantage of our most innocent victims.”

“This is the second case this week involving child predators in our community that resulted in federal sentences without parole,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk. “I am thankful for the strong partnership we have at the federal level to keep predators off the streets and away from our children.”

According to court documents, in May 2018, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated a complaint from a young woman who stated that one of her customers, Cochran, was suspiciously taking photos of her with his cellular phone at the restaurant where she worked. Cochran was interviewed and consented to a search of his phone, where agents found photos of the woman, as well as multiple photos of fully clothed, prepubescent females and girls under the age of 12-years-old. Cochran admitted there were “some minors” and “a little nudity” on his personal computer at his home, and he consented to a search of his devices. A search warrant was executed, and Cochran’s electronic devices were seized. With the assistance of FBI’s Computer Analysis Response Team and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, agents identified 16 videos and 87 images containing child sexual abuse material, mostly of minors under the age of 12-years-old. Cochran told law enforcement that he would download, view and then delete the images before downloading more because he knew it was illegal.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was investigated by FBI and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Couch prosecuted the case for the Government.

Updated April 28, 2023

Project Safe Childhood