Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News Group
                                Lewis Cox appears in court Friday with attorney Steve McKay. Cox pleaded guilty to child porn charges.

Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News Group Lewis Cox appears in court Friday with attorney Steve McKay. Cox pleaded guilty to child porn charges.

Man pleads guilty to child porn charges

A former substance abuse treatment provider and Compass Health administrator caught with child pornography in a Homeland Security dragnet was taken into custody in court Friday.

Lewis Cox, 50, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court to two counts of possession of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, two additional counts were dismissed and the prosecutor agreed to recommend a 29-month sentence at a hearing later this year.

The case is from two years ago when Homeland Security agents investigated Cox in 2016 after learning that suspected child porn was uploaded to the website Flickr by a user. The IP address was traced to an Oak Harbor apartment where Cox lived.

Cox gave agents permission to search his computer and USB drive; they found numerous images and videos of child pornography, the agents’ report says.

Cox admitted he frequently communicated in child-porn related internet chat rooms where people would send him large “batches” of child porn; he would then share them elsewhere on the internet, the report states.

Cox also explained that he would occasionally pretend to be a female child in chat rooms.

Cox had been in management at Compass Health, a behavioral health care service provider across five counties. He worked as a counselor prior to that, his attorney indicated.

Friday, the judge ordered the Department of Corrections to do a pre-sentence investigation on Cox, which is required in sex-based crimes.

A jail deputy escorted Cox away in handcuffs after the hearing.

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