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DailyTidings.com
  • Auchincloss indicted on 25 felony counts

    The half brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis faces charges of encouraging child sexual abuse
  • Ashland resident James Auchincloss, half brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was indicted Tuesday on 25 felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse.
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  • Ashland resident James Auchincloss, half brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was indicted Tuesday on 25 felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse.
    In cases of this kind, defendants tend to take a plea bargain rather than face a trial, according to Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe.
    "Based on my experience, the majority of these cases resolve," Hoppe said this morning. "They do not go to trial. Of course, (a trial) would be my preferred solution."
    A Jackson County grand jury indicted the 62-year-old on Monday for allegedly duplicating and possessing child pornography.
    Hoppe, the prosecutor on the case, said if Auchincloss accepted a plea bargain, it would likely mean he would have to plead guilty to some of the child sex abuse counts and agree to enter treatment and have limited or no contact with children.
    Although the exact punishment would be decided by a judge, Auchincloss, who has no prior criminal record, could receive probation instead of any jail time, Hoppe said.
    Neither Auchincloss nor his attorney, Carl Caplan, returned calls seeking comment.
    Prosecutors expect to schedule the arraignment date in the next few days, but the matter could take months to resolve, Hoppe said.
    Also on Monday, Eagle Point resident Dennis Vickoren, a co-defendant, was indicted on 30 felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse for allegedly disseminating, duplicating and possessing child pornography.
    Hoppe noted that neither man is charged with producing child porn, a charge that carries a heavier sentence.
    Vickoren did not return calls. Hoppe said Vickoren, 58, did not have an attorney and would be sent a letter notifying him of the charges.
    Auchincloss' former assistant, Eddy McManus, and Sgt. Josh Moulin with the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force testified before the grand jury at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.
    By 2:30 p.m., the grand jury had handed down the indictment on all of the charges that the Jackson County District Attorney's office sought, Moulin said.
    "I think that the crimes alleged in the indictment do accurately reflect the evidence that was presented," he said. Moulin told the grand jury what the task force found on Auchincloss and Vickoren's computers, cameras and other electronic equipment, he said.
    McManus testified he saw Auchincloss and Vickoren view child porn on computers and saw CDs with the images on them at Auchincloss' home, he said.
    "I told them about them viewing it and making copies of CDs and sharing it with each other and sharing it with friends," McManus said.
    Still, McManus was surprised at the number of felony charges Auchincloss and Vickoren were indicted on, he said.
    "I was expecting two or three," he said. "Apparently with the investigation with the forensics lab, they found a lot more evidence than I was aware of."
    Last October, police searched Auchincloss and Vickoren's homes and found graphic images of young boys, according to search warrant affidavits.
    Because of a backlog of computer crime cases, the task force took more than eight months to analyze the 48 pieces of electronic equipment seized, Moulin said.
    In July, the Ashland Police Department handed over a 4-inch-thick binder containing the details of the case to the district attorney's office.
    Police Chief Terry Holderness said the department was satisfied with the grand jury indictment.
    "Obviously it's been a concern in the community so we're happy that we got it to this stage," he said.
    McManus, who first learned Auchincloss was viewing child porn last summer, said the indictment was a relief.
    "I'm feeling finally vindicated and in the mood to celebrate," he said Tuesday evening. "I'm going out celebrating tonight on the town, in Ashland."
    When the Daily Tidings first reported in June that police were investigating Auchincloss for allegedly being in possession of child pornography, some community members doubted the allegations and accused McManus of lying to police. Now, McManus hopes the attacks on his character will stop, he said.
    "People were doubting," McManus said. "There was so much doubt surrounding this case, because people had been viewing him (Auchincloss) as one person and not seeing the other side of him."
    An heir to a wealthy family that made a fortune in oil and financing, Auchincloss briefly took the national stage at age 6 when he carried the wedding train of his half sister Jackie up the aisle as she married John F. Kennedy in 1953.
    But friends of Auchincloss say Jackie later treated him like a pariah, and various reasons have been given, including that Auchincloss served as one of the better sources for the racy biography of Jackie titled "Jackie, Oh," by author Kitty Kelley.
    Auchincloss moved from Washington, D.C., to Ashland in the mid-1990s.
    Hannah Guzik is a reporter for the Daily Tidings. Reach her at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com. Chris Conrad is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 776-4471 or cconrad@mailtribune.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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