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Press Release

Grants Pass Sex Offender Sentenced to 188 Months in Federal Prison for Possessing Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. —  U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner today sentenced Norman Bruce Spencer, 59, of Grants Pass, Oregon to 188 months in federal prison for felon in possession of a firearm, followed by five years of supervised release.

In September 2010, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a complaint that Spencer, an employee of the Whitehorse Country Store in Grants Pass, had sexually molested an 8-year old girl.  The responding deputy determined that Spencer had multiple aliases and several felony convictions, including three prior convictions for child molestation, and that he had not registered as a sex offender in at least five years.  Spencer was eventually arrested for sexual abuse of a minor and for failure to register as a sex offender.  During the investigation, the deputies also discovered that Spencer possessed a Smith and Wesson .44 caliber revolver and a Norinco 12- gauge shotgun, which defendant kept at the store.  An ATF agent traced the revolver and shotgun back to their original owners, who indicated they had sold the firearms to Spencer.  He was eventually charged and convicted of sex abuse I in Josephine County Circuit Court and was sentenced to life in prison.

In imposing the federal sentence, Judge Panner found that Spencer was an armed career criminal.  Under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act, any person who possesses a firearm or ammunition faces a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if the person has three prior convictions for violent felonies or drug trafficking offenses.  Spencer has previous felony convictions for attempted injury to a child (Idaho 2001); robbery in the second degree (California 2000); lewd acts upon a child under 14-years old (California 1993); aggravated assault in the third degree (Florida 1991), lewd acts upon a child under 14-years old (California 1986), and forgery (California 1982).  In addition, Spencer was also convicted in Josephine County Circuit Court of three counts of felony sex abuse I of a minor, and was sentenced to life without parole.  His federal sentence will run concurrent with the state sentence.

This case was investigated by the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas W. Fong.

Updated January 29, 2015