Man pleads guilty to child porn found in 2014 MADGE raid

·2 min read

Jun. 4—A years-long court battle surrounding images of child abuse found during a 2014 Southern Oregon drug investigation has ended with a guilty plea.

Ernest Luther Taylor, 44, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene to charges of possessing child pornography and transporting obscene material, admitting that in 2014 he possessed images of child sexual abuse involving a prepubescent girl, that Taylor is in the explicit video files, according to a plea agreement signed by Taylor and federal prosecutors late last week, and that between December 2012 and August 2014 he traveled between California and Washington with the explicit video files.

Taylor was arrested in February 2014 after the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force descended on what they described at the time as one of the largest psilocybin mushroom growing operations that they'd ever seen in the 7500 block of Highbanks Road in Central Point, according to earlier Mail Tribune reports.

While searching for evidence of drug dealing on Taylor's digital devices, the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force reportedly found evidence of the abuse of a child younger than 10 years old that occurred between December 2012 and July 2013, among other child pornography files.

Over the past six years, Taylor's defense lawyers have disputed the validity of the search warrant on Taylor's Samsung phone, arguing that the search exceeded the warrant's scope.

A judge weighed in on the manner in February 2016, ruling that investigators acted in good faith and that they sought an additional search warrant after finding the child pornography files during the search.

The 2016 court order filed by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken also describes a fire marshal's attempt to inspect a wooden structure inside a shed that was "completely shielded from view by sheets of black plastic."

"Defendant (Taylor), who appeared to be very nervous, told the fire marshal that the wooden structure contained rooms used as 'sex dungeons,' and that the black plastic was for privacy," the 2016 document states.

Court records show that Taylor filed numerous motions and counter motions surrounding the evidence, with the most recent one filed in late October 2020.

Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers will agree to a 12-year prison sentence if Taylor drops all pending motions, according to the plea agreement filed earlier this week. Earlier drug charges in the case will be dropped.

Further, if Taylor receives the 12-year prison sentence, the document states, the Jackson County District Attorney's office will not prosecute Taylor for abusing the child depicted in some of the child pornography files.

Taylor will be sentenced Sept. 16 in U.S. District Court in Medford, records show.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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