Fort Sill Soldier Sentenced in Child Porn Case

A Fort Sill soldier was found guilty of possession of child pornography at court martial this month and sentenced for his crimes. Pfc. Jason A. Close was convicted of child possession but acquitted of charges that he molested and raped an 8-year-old girl. A military judge ordered Close to be reduced to the lowest rank, E-1; to forfeit his pay and allowances; and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army. He must also serve two years confinement for his conviction. The child pornography charges came after he was accused in late November 2012 of possessing eight images and one video of a minor engaged in sexual activity. He was also accused of raping and sexually assaulting a child several times between late December 2005 and early January 2006. He was found not guilty of the child molestation charges. Last month, another Fort Sill soldier was also convicted of sexually abusing a minor. Sgt. Brian R. Bowman was accused of engaging in sexual activity with a minor under 16 several times between July 2012 and August 2013. He was sentenced to 14 months confinement, reduction of rank to the lowest rank, and a bad conduct discharge. This fall, a former soldier convicted at a Fort Sill court martial was found dead after escaping from a halfway house last fall. Kevin Patrick Stoeser, 41, was convicted in 2002 of multiple sex offenses, including production of child pornography and the rapes of five girls between the ages of 12 and 16. Stoeser fled a Texas halfway house in October 2013. On September 8, a dog who escaped from its back yard overnight returned with a human skull. That skull was later identified as belonging to Stoeser, who had been named as one of the United States Marshals Service's "15 Most Wanted Fugitives." The outcome of a court-martial may be different from what can be expected during a civilian trial. However, under Oklahoma law, engaging in sexual contact with a minor under 16 is a felony sex crime. Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child Under 16 is penalized in 21 O.S. § 1123. Conviction of this felony sex crime brings a possible sentence of 3 to 20 years in prison if the child involved is aged 12 or older; it has a minimum sentence of 25 years if the child is under the age of 12. Child molestation or lewd acts with a minor is considered among the most serious sex offenses, and those convicted of sexually assaulting a child are considered to be at high risk of re-offense. As a Level III sex offense, a conviction of Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to a Child Under 16 mandates lifetime sex offender registration. Learn more here.

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