Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

July 12, 2013

Cowman pleads, Smith sentenced in underage sex video incident

(Continued)

Knoxville —

Bull asked Cowman follow-up questions to further establish the defendant's guilt at the hearing. Cowman confirmed that the act was oral sex, performed by a 15-year-old girl, which he permitted to happen and filmed it. Bull also clarified that his office did not provide the video to the defense to avoid complications of distributing child pornography itself. 

Defense Attorney John Heinecke reported seeing the video. He also explained the potential consequences Cowman could face at sentencing, including up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. These consequences were again reviewed in open court. Cowman said he understood the consequences, as well as the rights he was surrendering, and proceeded with his guilty plea. 

Cowman's sentencing is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. A presentence investigation has been ordered. 

Immediately following Cowman's plea hearing, Smith was sentenced. 

On behalf of the State, Bull requested Smith be sentenced to 10 years per count, and that those sentences run consecutively. The recommendations in the presentence investigation on file show that Smith's likelihood to reoffend ranges between moderate to high risk. The risk assessment was based on Smith's own answers to questions posed by the PSI writer. 

Bull indicated that, at the time of the crime, Smith had been kicked out of his home. Smith did not finish high school, "because he didn't like it." The defendant was also homeless and used drugs on a daily basis, Bull added. 

"There is no question this defendant knew exactly what he was doing," Bull said. Only one person did not know what was going on and that was the victim, he added. 

"She didn't know she was being videotaped," Bull said. This leads to purposeful concealment by the defendant and others involved. "They absolutely knew what they did was wrong." 

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