Ashland resident James Auchincloss was released from the Jackson County Jail Tuesday and allowed to return home under house arrest until a probation violation hearing scheduled for later this month.

Ashland resident James Auchincloss was released from the Jackson County Jail Tuesday and allowed to return home under house arrest until a probation violation hearing scheduled for later this month.

Should a judge find Auchincloss guilty of the alleged violation at the May 24 hearing, the 63-year-old could be sent back to prison for more than a year, said Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe.

"If he's revoked, he could be facing 16 to 18 months in prison," Hoppe said.

Tuesday's hearing was initially slated to render a decision on Auchincloss' alleged misconduct. But the matter was postponed because the state's witness, a treatment officer, is ill, Hoppe said, adding he argued against home release.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Gerking ruled Auchincloss was to be released from jail but remain confined to his home until the May 24 hearing. Auchincloss remains under the custody of Jackson County Community Justice, and he is allowed to leave his home only for medical or psychological appointments, Hoppe said.

"Electric monitoring was discussed, but he'll have to pay for it," Hoppe said. "And if he violates the terms of his release, we'll put him back in jail."

Auchincloss was placed in Jackson County Jail on March 2 without bail after prosecutors said he again violated his probation on an August 2010 plea-bargained conviction on child pornography charges. Circuit Court Judge Mark Schiveley sentenced Auchincloss to 30 days in jail for two felony counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse.

The half-brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent Christmas in jail for his first probation violation before being released in January. In the first instance, Auchincloss apparently failed to report all of his behavior to his sex offender treatment group and disclosed that he had been negligent just before a scheduled polygraph test, Hoppe said.

On March 2, Auchincloss was back in jail because he allegedly violated the terms of his supervision once again.

The last time Auchincloss accepted his sanction of 30 days in jail. But this time Auchincloss is denying the allegations and that is why there will be a contested hearing, Hoppe said.

Hoppe stressed Auchincloss is not believed to have committed any new crimes. But the prosecutor said this was Auchincloss' second violation of a structured sanction that was part of his negotiated plea agreement with Jackson County prosecutors before his conviction. Auchincloss acknowledged possessing and distributing photographs of prepubescent children, images prosecutors described as lewd and lascivious in nature.

Schiveley also ordered Auchincloss to serve three years' probation, during which he must stay away from children and undergo sex-offender treatment. He must also be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Auchincloss' probation officer initiated the arrests, after learning that Auchincloss may not have complied with the terms of his supervision, said Nate Gaoiran, program manager of the sex offender unit for Jackson County Community Justice.

The arrest and jail lodging are standard protocol for a suspected probation violation, Gaoiran said.

Auchincloss' attorney, Carl Caplan, argued in March that his client has been jailed over "a treatment issue." Auchincloss is not a threat to the community, he said.

Sanne Specht is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.