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Press Release

Rogue River Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Abusing Minors

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

Rogue River Man with Prior Conviction for Sex Crime, Sentenced for Transporting Two Minor Girls to California and Committing Sexual Assault

MEDFORD, Ore. – Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced James Robert Powell, 50, of Rogue River, Oregon, to 25 years in federal prison for crimes relating to his sexual assault of two minors.

After receiving allegations that Powell had molested minors, law enforcement officials learned that Powell used his friendship with a woman to obtain her permission in March 2012 to take her two daughters, ages 15 and 13, from Rogue River, Oregon to Brookings, Oregon, purportedly to help Powell sell merchandise at a local fair.  The investigation disclosed that Powell instead took the girls to a beach house he had rented in Smith River, California. Once there, Powell provided alcohol to the minors, got them drunk, and sexually abused both of them over a two day period.  Powell also secretly recorded the girls while they were naked.  He instructed the girls that upon their return, to lie to their mother about where they had been over the weekend.

On June 29, 2012, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Powell, charging him with various offenses relating to his sexual assault of the minors. Powell pleaded guilty on January 22, 2013 to transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor, and using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct.  Powell has been in federal custody since he was arrested in April 2012.

Powell has a prior conviction in 1994 for assault with intent to commit rape and verbal threats to kill (U.S. Department of the Army, Fort Leavenworth, KS).  Powell served five years in a military prison and received a General Court Martial. 

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Owen Panner sentenced Powell to serve 25 years in federal prison, and ordered that Powell be on supervised release for the rest of his life.    U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall applauded Judge Panner’s sentence, commenting that, “This 25-year sentence sends a clear message to other sex offenders like Powell. If you sexually abuse a child, we will find you, we will prosecute you, and you will be locked up for a very long time.  We will continue to do everything in our power to remove these predators from society and prevent them from victimizing others.”

This case was investigated by the FBI, Grants Pass Police Department, and Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Judith Harper.

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, 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 "resources."

Updated January 29, 2015