Kalispell man accused of taking sexually explicit photos of a child while boating on Lake Ashley in Flathead County admitted to being charged by the federal government on October 13, according to the US prosecutor Acting Leif M. Johnson.
Edward Timothy Cockerham, 43, has pleaded guilty to child sexual exploitation and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and at least five years of supervised release.
On June 24, Cockerham took two children boating on Lake Ashley where he touched and took explicit photos of an underage child while they were on the water, according to court documents.
The victim reported Cockerham’s actions, records show, prompting deputies from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office to seize Cockerham’s cell phone under a warrant. An initial examination determined that Cockerham had deleted all images from his cell phone. Following a second search warrant, the sheriff’s office sent the cell phone to the computer lab in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Montana Department of Justice, where a forensic expert located sexually explicit images of the victim, according to documents.
American magistrate Kathleen L. DeSoto presided over Cockerham’s argument. The sentence was set for January 27, 2022 before US District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Cockerham was detained pending hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson is pursuing the case, which has been investigated by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Montana’s Criminal Investigations Division and Montana Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Children.
This case was initiated as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative.